George has injured his back while doing squats so the Guru explains about stability being key

June 12, 2015


I injured my back on the 12th of January whilst squatting in the gym.

I felt it give way mid squat. It was not very painful immediately, but the pain gradually increased to the point where I found it difficult to walk up stairs for the next couple of days. The rate of recovery was slow, and it took approximately five months before I did not feel discomfort when I hyperextended my back. To facilitate recovery and maintain some athleticism during this period I completed sets of pushups and pull-ups, and completed static stretches of my back and hamstrings.

Today, after almost six months out of the gym, i decided to try some squats and deadlifts with very light weight. I started with a warm up and then did two sets of squats with only 40kg (the initial injury was with 100kg). After this I attempted a set of deadlifts with 60kg, and after about three reps i felt my back go again.

Any advise you could give me on what the injury might be, and how long i should expect recovery to take would be greatly appreciated.

June 12, 2015

Hi George

Knowing the diagnosis without knowing the cause is like being told you’ve won the lottery but have lost the ticket.

80% of back pain gets better by doing nothing. Time is a great healer….so they say. But if you don’t know what caused your back to go in the first place and then it goes again under a very similar set of circumstances, then I’d hasitaguess it’s what you are doing to your back that’s the issue, rather than your back is the issue.

You’ve most likely got a good strong back, but your doing things to it that it cannot support.

This is because either your technique is wrong, you’re trying too much too soon or you don’t have the ability to move well enough with enough control to do what you want to do. The latter is the most common issue.

Feeling better is not the same as getting better. You’ve done the feeling better bit, but I don’t think it’s got you any better. Unfortunately I think you were doomed to fail (sorry!)

I think I’d stop all stretching and I think I’d stop all strengthening if you want to get your back better. If you want to get longer and stronger then do crack on, but it won’t “fix” your back.

You’ve got too much movement/joint play in your lower back that you can’t control under load. You need to understand why the excessive joint play is there and what you need to do to control it. No mention of getting stronger or improving range!

Stability, control biased rehab or Pilates is key for you.

The Guru

Guru Responded

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