Lower Back Fatigue going into Phase III, 10% Deload? Lower Back Fatigue going into Phase III, 10% Deload?

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Thread: Lower Back Fatigue going into Phase III, 10% Deload?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Question Lower Back Fatigue going into Phase III, 10% Deload?

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    Hi, all. 3rd go at the NLP.

    Attempt 1: 2017 for 2 months. Don't remember why I stopped, but I'm sure it was a stupid reason.
    Attempt 2: June - August 2022. Stopped due to cyst growth on back (right where the bar would sit for squats). Stopped to get it diagnosed, have a surgery booked, have cyst removed, and wait for wound to heal up.

    Attempt 3: November 2022 - Present

    Started at 35y/6'5"/240#.

    DL: 175# 1x5; SQ: 95# 3x5; BP: 85# 3x5; OP: 65# 3x5

    Current as of Feb. 1/'23: BW 268#

    DL: 335# 1x5 (10# / workout),
    SQ: 275# 3x5 (5# / workout),
    BP: 145# 3x5 (3x failure at 5# / workout, admittedly greedy, plan on a 10% deload and then 2#-2.5# jumps)
    OP: 105# 3x5 (2.5# since 95#. 2x failure on 105# before hitting the 105#.)
    PC: 160# 5x3 (5# / workout, changing to 2.5# next workout)
    Lat Pulldowns 163x5x5 (268# a bit heavy to chin-up for me. Dr. Santana had a video about using Lat Pulldowns to push towards chin-ups and am following that as best I can)

    My upper body lifts have always been a sticking point. Among other reasons, I have freakishly long arms (39" shirt sleeve).


    Novice II, though will be moving to Novice III now unless advised otherwise. Here's how my last few deadlift workout days went:

    SQ as NLP, DL 315x5 (Tied PR) -> PC ->
    SQ as NLP, DL 325x0 (Bar stapled to floor), decided to just stick with the warmups -> PC ->
    SQ 80% Light Day, 325x5 (PR) -> PC -> (one extra day off) ->
    SQ as NLP, 335x5 (PR) -> PC -> Lat Pulldown Only Day (SQ 275x3x5) ->
    SQ 80% Light Day, DL (today): 345x0 (Bar stapled to floor), 315x2, 315x1. My brain threatened to quit on me if I tried another rep.


    The issue for me seems to be accumulated lower back fatigue, something that I'm assuming would be addressed by moving onto Novice III (DL / LPD / PC / LPD). I barely did my final warmup set.

    I noticed that while I normally get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, 1) I only got 4-5 on the days I missed the reps, and 2) I usually work nights, so those 7-8 hours aren't at good times.

    I haven't been tracking all food intake, but I make sure to get 250g protein per day; mostly chicken + a daily protein shake. Sometimes ground beef. A 28# increase in 2-3 months seems to indicate to me that calorie intake isn't the problem, but I could be ewrong.

    I currently do the deadlift beltless; I have a 4" 13mm lever belt and it's too thick. I am saving for a 3" 10mm belt.


    1) I have been advised by my chiro against doing sit-ups and/or back extensions due to back injury history. Same chiro encourages me in the barbell movements. Are lat pulldowns enough to drive my progress on the lighter days, or do I need to add an additional assistance exercise on those days, such as rows? Or should I try the back extensions anyway?

    2) Aside from a slight delay, would there be a benefit to a global ~10% deload on all the movements going into Phase III? Something like SQ 250#, DL 315#, BP 135#, OP 95#, PC 145#? Or would that just hinder progress? I am concerned about the cumulated lower back fatigue, as it's happened twice.

    3) Form Check: I have videos for my 315x5 deadlift and 275x5 squat (3rd set), but they were not taken at ideal angles. Should I upload those anyway, or just wait until I can get someone to take a better angle at my next workout? (SQ Friday, DL Next Friday)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2020


    Why don't you just continue Phase II, but with five pound increments on the deadlift? Why are you doing the power clean after the deadlift, since Phase two has you alternating them? I am guessing your lower back isn't fatigued, but growing. The initial stages of growth can get somewhat painful, but this will subside once you pull 405 for a set of five, which I think you should be able to do easily given how massive you are. Make sure you post videos, and yes, film them from a proper angle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2021


    Lots of good programming question.

    However - given your current numbers, your note about low back pain, and your deadlift video from several years back (2017), I recommend that you take a good look at technique before you mess with programming.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2017


    My apologies for not being clearer.

    The -> PC was meant to indicate the power clean workout day following. I never deadlift and power clean on the same day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North Texas


    You found a good chiropractor.

    The First Three Questions | Mark Rippetoe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2022


    starting strength coach development program
    Get your hormones checked.

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