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Hip and back pain from weights

May 10th, 2018

Hey Guru,

I am an avid fan of hitting the free weights at the gym. Whether its benching, squatting, or deadlifting, I always make time to push myself.

Lately I’ve been struggling with lower back pain which confuses me because my form is proper.

Could this be due to my hip flexer tightness and how can I solve this issue and get back to good form?

The Guru Responded:

Hi Michael

 

Free weights are the absolute best way to go forwards with lots of things, but form – and more importantly what someone things is good versus what is actually good is the essence (and the truth!).

 

The bit about hip flexor tightness is kind of right, but also kind of wrong – if you don’t know why it’s tight, simply stretching it won’t ever get rid of the problem. Instead think of your hip flexor being protectively stiff. The muscles stiffen up to protect your lower back because you’ve got too much joint play in your lower back (that you can’t control) which is painful. You stretch this stiffness away – you get rid of the protection, you’ll feel a little better but you’ve now given your back even less control, more joint play and more pain, tomorrow.

 

Your body is great at cheating – if one bit moves more than another bit, then it’ll compensate so the other bit doesn’t have to move as much – and vica versa. You’ll have a really stiff thoracic spine – you think you’ve got good form but instead you’ve stiffened up your thoracic spine (you are too Sargent Major in your form) and so need to compensate through your lower back – more joint play, less control, more pain…..

 

Less is more.

 

You need to work on your thoracic mobility, which gets harder in any over head activity. Have a look here https://www.sixphysio.com/videos/back-pain, drop your weights by 50%, get better true form (don’t try as hard) and you will not only feel better, but more importantly get better.

The Guru

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