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Major lower back pain from leg press

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  • Major lower back pain from leg press

    So I was doing my usual super slow leg press, and because my time under load had increased, I upped the weight a bit. Push, push, push and bam! Instant pain in the lower back and me on the floor trying not to yell.

    1 week later and walking is still difficult, driving very sore, and the physio this morning tells me (to my great relief it's not spinal) it looks like an injury to the hip flexor, possible involving the sacroiliac joint too.

    It basically hurts when I walk, and I can't extend my stride past that of a shuffle (I'm loving the look - 90 year old me).

    I'm just wondering a few things at this stage:

    1) If anyone has experienced this, did anything help to aid recovery?

    2) What I can do to work my legs once recovered that won't stress the hip flexor as much, bearing in mind that the next leg press I see, I am going to blow up.
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  • #2
    I stopped doing the leg press a few years ago when I read an article (I think on T Nation) which had all sorts of technical stuff in it about torque and compression and basically showed that the leg press is a really crappy exercise that's horrible for the lower back.

    I switched to something I call a cable walk-back. (Don't know if it has a real name.) Using only one side of a cable machine, set the handle fairly low (I use setting #11) and the handle of your choice. Drop into a squat position, extend your arms, lean back with your weight in your heels and slowly pull the weight as you walk backwards until the cable runs out. Then slowly walk it back. It's kind of like doing a controlled tug-of-war.

    You'll get the work in your legs, glutes and lower back without any compression.

    In the meantime, do side and forward planks throughout the day until your back recovers.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dragonmamma View Post
      I stopped doing the leg press a few years ago when I read an article (I think on T Nation) which had all sorts of technical stuff in it about torque and compression and basically showed that the leg press is a really crappy exercise that's horrible for the lower back.

      I switched to something I call a cable walk-back. (Don't know if it has a real name.) Using only one side of a cable machine, set the handle fairly low (I use setting #11) and the handle of your choice. Drop into a squat position, extend your arms, lean back with your weight in your heels and slowly pull the weight as you walk backwards until the cable runs out. Then slowly walk it back. It's kind of like doing a controlled tug-of-war.

      You'll get the work in your legs, glutes and lower back without any compression.

      In the meantime, do side and forward planks throughout the day until your back recovers.
      +1 Leg Presses are absolutely horrible exercises for that reason. Compression forces are way too excessive on this exercise especially when done heavy. Learn to squat properly.

      Also +1 for reading T-Nation

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      • #4
        Yes, this happened to me 1-1/2 weeks ago, and I had pain for 1 week. It was awful. I will never do that again! For one thing, I didn't have the machine in proper alignment to my body, and, I also found out the hard way, that this is not a very good exercise.

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        • #5
          Me too, years ago. I quit these and moved only to squats, lunges, deadlifts and weight step-ups. Leg presses have their place for bodybuilders to emphasize their glutes, but are really not that beneficial for regular folks. There are many other great exercises that will strengthen your legs and spine.

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          • #6
            Like everyone else said, ditch the leg press! Focus on squats and lunges - but make sure your form is correct or you could wind up hurting your back again.
            "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

            "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mav3rick View Post
              +1 Leg Presses are absolutely horrible exercises for that reason. Compression forces are way too excessive on this exercise especially when done heavy. Learn to squat properly.
              This. The only reason I've ever used leg presses since learning the proper way to train is for calf presses... and since I've eschewed the gym, I don't even do them anymore...
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              • #8
                I think I'm sensing a theme here Thanks folks, the leg press is officially off the menu, and if I am ever allowed to walk like a normal human again, I'll do a proper leg exercise instead. In the meantime, I'll get over to T-nation and read.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post
                  Like everyone else said, ditch the leg press! Focus on squats and lunges - but make sure your form is correct or you could wind up hurting your back again.
                  Yes on the squats. Start with a super light weight until your form is perfect.
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                  • #10
                    Squats are really transforming my lower torso! I soooo regret using the leg press.

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