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Old 11-27-2006, 06:57 AM   #1
Tyler Fainstat
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Greetings,

I have been doing Crossfit for 4.5 months now and loving it. I live in a far off country so I have been teaching myself through the website. I purchased Rippetoe's Starting Stength, and have been teaching myself the oly lifts (sticking mostly to back & front squats, deadlifts, and benchpress), with good results. I feel like my form is good, and have taken it slow getting comfortable with the lifts. The problem is that I have been experiencing a considerable amount of lower back pain, which I have never had before I starting crossfit, and I feel that it is coming from these lifts.

Does anyone have suggestions about how to avoid this lower back pain? Weight belt? Stretching? etc...

Any advice is much appreciated,

Cheers, Tyler

by the way- 28yo, 6ft, 205lbs.
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:22 AM   #2
Peter Queen
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Weight belt? Definitely not IMHO. Depending on how light you are lifting, a belt is counter productive with or without back pain. It impedes your natural ROM and retards your stabilizing muscles. Make sure your posture is correct. Start with using a bar or broomstick just to make sure the technique is indeed correct. I would use both DBs and barbells in doing the lifts to practice the mechanics of both styles. Each approach requires a slightly different adjustment in your ROM and stabilizing muscle responses. This is good for all around muscle training and stamina building. Scale back the reps to see how your body responds to that for a while then gradually increase the reps as your back strength increases. Scale back the weight as well for a while. Mix up your routine with L sit dips or L pull ups. These help in strengthening and stabilizing your lower back as well as your overall core. Work on some of your mobility training as well. Lunges and bear crawls nice slow, deep and controlled goblet squats without weights and with light weights to get good core stimulation for example will help with your overall muscle control and strengthening. I also use to suffer from severe lower back pain as well before I started CF. I have always kept in shape through various methods through out my entire life but now I have learned to work out more smartly through CF.
The program has given me back the resilience, flexibility and speed that I had when I was in my 20s and has increased my overall body/natural strength that I built up in my 30s. I wake up now in the mornings without fearing that initial tweak of pain and stiffness in my back. I use to go ta a chiropractor almost every month for about 8 years. Sometimes I would have to go 2 to 3 times in the same month. My back was a real mess. I did not take the time to focus on my technique and training properly…too stubborn and egotistical. Now it has been over a year since I have seen my chiropractor. So again, check your technique and if possible check with other CFers. I believe there are few others living in the Bogota general area.
These are my experiences but I hope my 2c helps a little.

Good luck.
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:51 AM   #3
Jerimiah Childress
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Make sure you are following the advice in this article when doing the deadlift and your back should hold the same posture when doing all other lifts. It is very easy to think that you are doing the lifts with good form, but it is very helpful for you to find someone else, even if all they do is read the article and make sure that you are doing what it says.

http://www.crossfit.com/journal/libr...ofDeadlift.pdf
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Old 11-27-2006, 09:24 AM   #4
Elliot Royce
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Perhaps you could be more specific about the back pain?

- when does it start and when does it go away?
- is it sharp or more like soreness?
- is it provoked by a particular movement?
- do your muscles ever spasm?
- can you recreate it?

We might be able to help better with that info. Assuming that it's not just muscle soreness, then I think the 4 main possibilities could be a) lack of flexibility preventing your body from moving correctly; b) some sort of structural problem like a disk herniation; c) poor technique or d) weakness. Or indeed some combination of the above.

My experience has been that if you do the O lifts properly, there is no pain at all. I think they're more natural movements than many other isolation type weightlifting moves (straight-legged deadlift). But with the dynamic nature of them, any weakness or structural problem can be magnified.

Even if you can't find a coach, you can post a video. Also a good PT or trainer will be able to tell whether you have structural issues like excessive tightness.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:28 AM   #5
Tyler Fainstat
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Wow- thanks for all the quick advise!!

It seems the most important thing may be to find a oly-lifing coach who can evaluate my form for me.

Elliot- the pain is more like soreness than sharp. I don't ever have spasms per say. It is difficult for me to say whether it is brought on by any particular movement, because normally when I am doing the workouts, I feel great- it is only the dreaded day after.

A further question building upon my first question- are there any indicators for differentiating between good and bad pain? ex. Since the last Linda my legs have been in pain, but I feel like it is good pain- muscle soreness, with no pain at all in the ankles or knees, whereas for my back I am not sure- just want to make sure I am not developing an injury.

Thanks again for your help,

Tyler
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:55 PM   #6
Elliot Royce
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Almost no one here is a doctor so consulting a good orthopedist or PT may be your best bet, although if you can't replicate the pain or describe it precisely they may have trouble.

So, there is no pain during exercise, right? Just soreness the next day? I think that's good because really bad position or a structural issue would probably cause immediate pain. A few additional questions:

- how long have you been working out using these muscles?
- have you stepped up volume recently?
- do you wake up with a sore lower back? Is there stiffness or is it just sore?
- have you had lower back soreness in other situations (long bus trip, after skiing, etc.)?
- is the soreness reducing over time? Does it correlate to a particularly heavy workout?

Again, there could be a more significant issue but it sounds like either weakness or poor technique/flexibility. If you have access to a GHD, I would do lots of GHD situps and raises. Alternatively other core work. It's amazing how weak our cores tend to be without doing specific exercise for them.

One thing you have to check (using a friend if necessary) is whether you have the deep (lordotic) curve in your back at all times during the lift. With tightness and inexperience, it's very easy to not have the curve in which case your lower back muscles and spine are doing too much work in the lifts. This is critical. If you can get and hold a strong curve, then basically your body is working in its most efficient way and your back should be capable of holding hundreds of pounds. Rippetoe describes this in detail, including how the coach can give the trainee the ability to sense the curve.

Finally, I'm just one guy with a lot of previous injuries, not a PT or doctor, so take my advice with a large grain of salt and consult someone expert.
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