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Old 02-02-2011, 12:58 PM   #1
Brent Ramos
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Lower back trouble when lifting

I am prone to back injury, I don't know why. When I was in high school I hurt it while doing cleans.

About six/seven months ago I hurt it again doing cleans. I have been hesitant to begin lifting (squats, cleans, deadlifts, thrusters, etc.) for fear of hurting my back again.

I started deadlifting again about two weeks ago and performed a Diane workout with dl weight starting at 135 and moving up to about 200. That went fine, my back didn't get thrown out.

I attempted the same workout a few days ago and made it through the 21 reps at 135 and moved it up to 185 and on the third rep I felt something in my lower back, similar to what I felt when I hurt it about six months ago.

However, I stopped immediately and no pain or injury resulted.

I was pretty fatigued from a run I had just completed and the previous 21 reps so it's very possible my form was deteriorating. What advice can you guys give to help prevent me from hurting my back like before?

I'm also tall and not very flexible, when I get down into a deadlift position it feels a bit awkward, like the bar is going to hit my knees as it goes up or something.

I used to be able to deadlift more weight than this without a problem about a year ago.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:02 PM   #2
Lenora Galitz-Pfeffer
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

You might consider seeing a Chiropracter. Have you had this recently evaluated?
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:18 PM   #3
Brent Ramos
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

No, I haven't had it evaluated.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:47 PM   #4
Mike Mallory
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

You should get someone to evaluate you, but on the basic tip;

Cleans are a high joint speed exercise, if you don't have a high degree of stability in the low back, you can easily tweak it doing stuff like that.

high joint speed-->more need for stability.

slow it down for a while and see if anything comes back......BUT, if you've been having this trouble for a long time, theres something you're missing in terms of joints/muscle balance, etc.
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:16 PM   #5
Brent Ramos
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

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Originally Posted by Mike Mallory View Post
You should get someone to evaluate you, but on the basic tip;

Cleans are a high joint speed exercise, if you don't have a high degree of stability in the low back, you can easily tweak it doing stuff like that.

high joint speed-->more need for stability.

slow it down for a while and see if anything comes back......BUT, if you've been having this trouble for a long time, theres something you're missing in terms of joints/muscle balance, etc.
What exactly do you mean by something missing Mike?

How would I increase lower back stability? I definitely think it's a problem like you're suggesting.
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:51 PM   #6
Mike Mallory
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

I mean some problem/misaligned joint or some area of instability, or bad form in one way or another, or on down the line!
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:52 PM   #7
Lenora Galitz-Pfeffer
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

Being tall can make deadlifts challenging, but, a lot of that depends upon your body proportions, i.e. length of legs, torso, arms.
Mobility work can be helpful, but, an evaluation is important before trying anything new. I agree about staying away from the olympic lifts. Too much can go wrong.
Do you eat well? Do you take fish oil supplements?
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:36 PM   #8
Brent Ramos
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenora Galitz-Pfeffer View Post
Being tall can make deadlifts challenging, but, a lot of that depends upon your body proportions, i.e. length of legs, torso, arms.
Mobility work can be helpful, but, an evaluation is important before trying anything new. I agree about staying away from the olympic lifts. Too much can go wrong.
Do you eat well? Do you take fish oil supplements?
I think it's more of a form issue combined with perhaps a lack of flexibility. I started paleo again about two weeks ago. Outside of that I don't eat unhealthy (relatively speaking) food, just a lot of carbs when I'm not doing paleo.

I do not take fish oil supplements.

As far as trying to figure out what the problem could be; I also notice that air squats usually are tough for me because of my hips, it definitely feels weird during the first few reps. It's not like this effects many aspects of my physical fitness training though, I can run well, up hills, carry weight, jump, all that stuff.

Squats aren't usually bad on my back, it's only those lifts that require the bar to be lifted off the deck from a squatted position. Like I said, it feels as if my knees get in the way of the bar and I compensate by putting the pressure on my lower back.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:36 PM   #9
Brian Eberle
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Ramos View Post
I think it's more of a form issue combined with perhaps a lack of flexibility. I started paleo again about two weeks ago. Outside of that I don't eat unhealthy (relatively speaking) food, just a lot of carbs when I'm not doing paleo.

I do not take fish oil supplements.

As far as trying to figure out what the problem could be; I also notice that air squats usually are tough for me because of my hips, it definitely feels weird during the first few reps. It's not like this effects many aspects of my physical fitness training though, I can run well, up hills, carry weight, jump, all that stuff.

Squats aren't usually bad on my back, it's only those lifts that require the bar to be lifted off the deck from a squatted position. Like I said, it feels as if my knees get in the way of the bar and I compensate by putting the pressure on my lower back.
How's your stretching routine both before and after your workouts? From reading this thread it seems like you are a lot like I used to be: tall and strong. I'm still tall, but not so strong anymore.

Anyhow, I would recommend significantly reducing or altogether eliminating weight on squats, cleans...all those high impact exercises that seems to cause you trouble. To me it sounds like your core muscles need to get strengthened. Your back has muscles underneath each other. I like to draw the same analogy to legs. You could do leg extensions with a 300 lb person siting on your ankles, but if your hip flexors are weak, you can't do more than 25 4 count flutter kicks to save your life! Do squats with no weight, putting your hands on your hips, concentrating on forum. Do other calisthenics concentrating on forum as well for your lower back. If you can get those core muscles strengthened and build some solid muscle memory, you might be able to return to those high impact exercises without fear of injury.

I used to train with Navy Special Ops, and got in the best shape of my life and never lifted a single weight, only working out for 30 minutes a day. I was 6'3", 173 pounds, and ripped. (Boy I miss those days!) Hope this helps...might not be what you want to hear, but you have to learn to walk before you run.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:03 AM   #10
Brent Ramos
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Re: Lower back trouble when lifting

I don't think so Brian. I think my core's in pretty good shape. I score 255 on the Marine corps PFT(14, 100, 20.00). By far the easiest part of the PFT is the crunches for me, I can bust out the 100 in about 90 seconds. Anyone who's done a Marine corps crunch knows that it gives your hip flexors more of a workout than your abs (my hip flexors used to give out quickly when I started training for the PFT).

I'll try taking a lot of the weight off and attempting the lifts like you suggested though.

What do you guys think about a back brace? Would that help any?

Once again, thanks for the advice guys and gals.
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