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  • Writer's pictureLori Goodsell

Weight Lifting and Back Pain

Updated: May 18, 2023

I see it in my chiropractic office all the time, one of my athletes is at the gym weight lifting and back pain strikes. As a life long weight lifter, I have tried everything from CrossFit to Barre classes. I should probably clarify, I didn’t try either of them just once, I spent six months minimum getting in depth on each so while I am not an expert at any of them, I have done more than just dabble.

woman doing pushups on kettlebells

My first tip applies to dead lifts and squats. Your risk of injury is much greater when using heavy weights. If I am doing squats or dead lifts, I cut the weight I am capable of for a set of 12 by 3. For example, if I am doing squats in squats in a Smith cage with 100lbs, I cut the weight to 30lbs. Then I do the squats but only using one-legged squats. It won’t be too easy, trust me. The other thing I like to do is mix it up and make it more full body by doing the one legged squats and using my 15 lb each barbells to do over head presses. So, squat and press, squat and press.

For the dead lifts, you can use the same system. I usually dead lift about 60 lbs. Today I did one-legged dead lifts with 15 lb weights. I have been focusing on other things lately so I hadn’t done these in awhile. My balance was awful for the first set and I had to stop a lot of times to keep from falling over. Once a couple weeks have gone by and my body starts to accommodate to these, I am going to roll a mat under my foot and give myself an unstable surface to balance on. You would be shocked how using just a little bit of weight and unstable surfaces fire tiny little muscles that you usually don’t work and give you a great burn from your workout.

Here is another weight lifting tip so you don’t have back pain later. Pay very specific attention to how your abs are engaging during your set. Translation, make sure they are engaging with each and every movement. If you power through your set and don’t use good form, you will hurt yourself. If the weight is so heavy that you lose your form on the last rep, that is a bad thing too. Back off on the weight or decrease the number of reps in your set. If you aren’t using good form, you aren’t working the muscles you intend to work anyways, so stopping early is the best option.

As always, for more tips or questions about your injuries, call my office today and speak directly to me. Active Family Chiropractic, Dr Lori Goodsell 763-553-0387 or book online:

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