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Weight lifting substitute for squats and deadlifts

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  • #16
    I sure hope it doesn't take that long to heal...squatting is my favorite exercise and I having only done them for a few months now, I have been impressed with how much they have single handedly increased my overall fitness. For the sake of my dignity, I'll remind readers that I last squatted 210 lbs (still not that much) and it was a 185 lb warmup weight that made me finally see a doctor.

    As for substitutions, I recently tried both the 45-degree and horizontal leg press. Both caused very little back pain. I don't plan on increasing the weight, just minimizing the loss of strength, supplementing with back extensions. In the meantime, I'm hoping that the minor discomfort caused by the leg press is no cause for concern regarding my healing process.

    On the subject of technique, I do believe that might have something to do with it. But form has always been very important to me. So I'd like to think that if my form was bad, it was caused by external factors. Perhaps I was rushing my workout more than I used to due to a tighter schedule. Perhaps my back became too weak relative to my legs, in which case, I might blame the recovery, or lack thereof. I currently live in a high-stress classroom environment in a tough Naval program, getting on average 5 hours sleep a night. I have been eating at a calorie deficit for a while and I sit down in uncomfortable chairs for upwards of 14 hours a day, which reduces my hip mobility and overall flexibility. All this and more were probably contributing to my new injury.

    Aside from doing my best to minimize strength loss, I was already planning on long stretch sessions and foam rolling, neither of which I've ever done. I'm very excited to see how much better my squat improves when I finally return to squatting. Which is why my biggest fear is never returning. In fact, the prospect of never squatting again is worries me more than a medical discharge from the Navy.


    • #17
      I am surprised you get time to lift weights and to browse at the academy. What course are you doing?

      When I was a cadet, I was too exhausted from daily PT, drill and other activities to even think about lifting weights. I had a nightmare of a PT instructor who could make the fittest guy in the class crawl on the ground wiping the floor with his tongue in flat 3 minutes.
      Few but ripe.


      • #18
        I'm not at the Academy. I'm in the nuke program (enlisted). Different standards and rules exist for different classes, and I just happened to fall in the one of the luckiest. Only an overall good scored on the PFA is needed to be on voluntary PT (or as they put it, "self-PT"). While I may disagree with the principle, since it is not hard to score an overall good, I'm glad this standard exists, since I very much disagree with the methods the Navy employs to achieve fitness. I would much rather do it my way (the primal way). Previous classes have seen standards like no voluntary PT at all, voluntary PT if scored an excellent overall, and there's even different standards of frequency when PT is required (ex. 5 days vs 3 days a week). Because these PT standards and other standards reflect the difficulty of the academic side of training, I think the command is experimenting to see what ultimately produces the best learning environment.

        All I care about is the ridiculously easy standard for my class to be on self-PT. My pushups are excellent, probably thanks to my bench press. But my run and situps are just good. In my opinion, I have extremely good fitness. I've measured my resting heart rate as low as 37 bpm. My strength was constantly increasing in the gym before the injury. And despite never doing any endurance training, I can still knock out a respectable number of BW pushups, squats, etc. This is led me to believe that getting any higher a score on my 1.5 mile run or situps requires training specifically for those. For instance, compound lifts may work the core, but w/o specific ab work, 100+ situps is probably impossible.

        Anyway, that's the long-winded explanation for why I don't have PT. I don't know the Academy, but our free time is limited too. I have to make time for the gym, or I'll lose my self-PT status from degraded fitness over time. As for browsing the internet: I normally don't, but right now I'm on leave and have plenty of time.


        • #19
          Primal philosophy is still too radical to digest for the general public leave alone large bureaucracies steeped in "tradition". So PT and mess menu ain't changing any time soon.

          Good luck with your recovery and training.
          Few but ripe.


          • #20
            Bodyweight squats working to towards pistol squats - they will keep your legs strong.
            Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
            Don't forget to play!


            • #21
              I've had this same issue. I have a herniated disc at L5/S1 that can be aggravated by squats. I can dead lift just fine though, and can do a few single leg thats how I get by. Last time I tried squats I was very bad off. Pain radiating into the leg and foot and couldn't get to standing upright. What I did:

              1. Chiropractor - 3x/week for a month moving into home exerercises and rehab the second month.
              2. No heavy weights for 2 months
              3. Lots of low and slow activity (walking) and the specific exercises
              4. I just stopped doing squats. My injury is an old wrestling one. Top loading the spine may be fine in the context of a relatively healthy person, but its not for everybody. I do leg presses (modified to eliminate any rounding), dead lifts, and throw in some pistols.

              Good news is I avoided surgery going the chiro route. I've had this happen only twice in 20 years since the original injury. They wanted to cut back when it originally happened. Avoid surgery if at all possible! Anyhow, just throwing this out there as my personal experience. Having a back injury sucks, but there are ways of healing and strengthening. Don't let anybody tell you that you "HAVE" to do any one particular exercise. Its bunk.


              • #22
                Originally posted by CE402 View Post
                Don't fuck around.

                Ditch the weights for a month. You have the rest of your life to get massive, but if you fuck up your lumbar spine it will get much, much harder.

                Do your cut, do some bodyweight conditioning, give yourself time to heal. If its still bothering you after a month, see a doctor. Not a nature path, a faith healer, or a gypsy. A doctor.

                Good friend of mine "treated" his lower back pain with a chiro for years, until the "treatments" stopped helping. It took 2 months for an MRI to prove he had 1 ruptured, and 1 herniated lumbar disk pinching the sciatic nerve. 4 more months to get surgery. By the end, he spent the last 3 weeks at home on percocet unable to drive and barely able to walk.
                This. Don't mess around with your back.
                Primal since August 2012. CW: 317.