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Old 08-11-2012, 10:13 AM   #1
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Default Lower Back Strains

Starting to get to the point when I train over 635 on deadlift I pick up an instant lower back strain that will last for several weeks. This has happened 3x in a row.

From a number's perspective, 635 shakes out to about 90%.

If I am going to improve my deadlift I need to strengthen my lower back. It was the strong point for me, now it's the weak point. Instead of using very heavy good mornings and RDLs, I am thinking about doing something more like a 10 set x 3 rep approach with moderate weight.

Also need to suck it up and stop training over 90% deadlifts. That leaves me with 85-90% range. Most likely I am going to move back to what I did last year, pulling singles. Might start at 85% for 5, then do some drop work each workout. Loading when the singles feel good.

Looking for any other advice/input regarding lower back strength and how you think I could improve it.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:34 AM   #2
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85% is a sensible load range; and hyperextensions. Just my opinion though.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by 5kgLifter View Post
85% is a sensible load range; and hyperextensions. Just my opinion though.
I did them in my muscle building years. I'm sure I could rig them at home. I've totally ignored this exercise for so long. I wonder if adding a couple sets would have value.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:48 AM   #4
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All I can think of, is at these weights, it probably makes sense to chuck out the percentages. For the lack of a better expression, the "feel" of 90% for a 685 lbs max would be considerably different than for a 385 lbs max. At least that's what common sense tells me. So, as you approach the rarefied strength levels, may be its time to chuck out %ages.

Also, I find Chaos and Pain's approach interesting. He is a big time advocate of hard work, but pays a lot of respect to the deads. Once read in his posts that after you start pulling big numbers regularly on the deads, heavy pulling every week can be a back wrecker. Therefore, the idea was to cut the deadlifting frequency, add in rack pulls and increase the squatting volume.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
If I am going to improve my deadlift I need to strengthen my lower back.
It may well just be accumulated fatigue, if your backs just overworked that could give the impression during the lift that it's weak. I had some of that myself the last SQ/DL session,

But anyway, assuming it is a relatively weak lower back here's what I've been doing lately is switching around what I do for my main lift and my assistance lifts. So whereas normally I would do:

Main lift; Deadlift for 90%+ work.
Assistance; RDLs/GMs etc for more volume.

I have switched that around. So it's more like this:

Main lift; Deadlift for 8-10 singles at 70-85%
Assistance; rotation of 90-100%+ work as well as the usual volume stuff.

That has allowed a few things to happen:

1) I can work on using the correct form that I want to use for the deadlift, and reinforce that constantly with set after set. For example if I get a strong arch/tight back on pre-pull I am guaranteed a stronger finish. BUT if i'm lifting at max that tends to fall apart so it's not trainable. Working so much volume ALLOWS it to be trainable and ultimately helps on max efforts.
2) I am much more 'form' focused rather than just trying to get the weight up, it's a subtle but very noticeable difference.
3) I have virtually no aches and pains like I used to get.
4) I can train these more often, I have consistently Deadlifted once a week and sometimes twice with considerably volume and no deload for a couple months now.

Adding bands and chains to the mix works extremely well. I really enjoy this approach.

Last edited by Fazc; 08-11-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kitarpyar View Post
All I can think of, is at these weights, it probably makes sense to chuck out the percentages. For the lack of a better expression, the "feel" of 90% for a 685 lbs max would be considerably different than for a 385 lbs max. At least that's what common sense tells me. So, as you approach the rarefied strength levels, may be its time to chuck out %ages.
Sorry for the confusion. I don't use percentages to determine workouts. All of my programming is by feel. I was looking for patterns and merely found that all my strains happened when I trained above 90%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitarpyar View Post
Also, I find Chaos and Pain's approach interesting. He is a big time advocate of hard work, but pays a lot of respect to the deads. Once read in his posts that after you start pulling big numbers regularly on the deads, heavy pulling every week can be a back wrecker. Therefore, the idea was to cut the deadlifting frequency, add in rack pulls and increase the squatting volume.
Good point, and one I've considered. I thought about taking every other week and just using power shrugs, good mornings, or lighter deads, etc.

I may need to give this a run in some form or fashion, perhaps...

Definitely food for thought.
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