The press and back issues/ pain The press and back issues/ pain

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Thread: The press and back issues/ pain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Default The press and back issues/ pain

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    I've been having a recurring issue with pressing and back pain. The press is definitely my weakest lift and I think I'm overarching or something causing my back to get angry with me. Last night was press night and I had a slight pain during my last set. Deadlifts after went OK with a slight tightness in the back but no issues later in the evening. Then this morning while walking around at work my back full on locked up, just under my ribs, hard to breath, can't stand up straight, etc. I'm on ibuprofen and a heating pad now. This is the second time this year I've had my back lock up like this and it really screws up any progress I'm making on the program.

    I will be getting a belt as I haven't been using one thus far. I think that will help some. Also, I think I'm going to start back with an empty bar and maybe go up in 2 lbs increments (or less?) in the press to try and slowly build up my back. Does that sound like a good idea? Is that small of an increment enough to cause a physical response? I have really long arms and legs with not much torso and I've always been fairly weak. I have a desk job and I think my back is just really weak. I'll post stats on body size and current lifts below. I'm just starting my second week back on the program but I'm a generally untrained individual who did crossfit for a couple years a few years ago.

    Additionally, I never really gained any size eating paleo while doing xfit so I'm trying to follow TBAB article but not sure if I should be trying to gain weight with my current gut size.

    Age: 33
    Ht.: 6'-2"
    Wt.: 190 lbs
    Waist: 38"
    Hips: 37"
    Arms: 13.5"
    Thighs: 23"
    Neck: 15"
    Chest: 44"
    Shoulders: 47.5"


    Lifts current as of last night (lbs):
    Squat: 3x5x115
    Dead: 1x5x165
    Bench: 3x5x100
    Press: 3x5x80
    Clean: 3x5x115 (did these in the wrong amount going to sets of 3's next, also may have started them too early in the program)

    Thanks for the help everyone, I really want to get this figured out as I know the stronger I am the less issues I have with my back in general from the last time I was in decent shape.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Do you have a coach? If not, post a form video of The Press. Likely you are doing what you are saying and arching at the back instead of at the hips.

    Look at posting videos of the other lifts as well.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2018
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    I do not have a coach, I need to look into finding one. Definitely couldn't hurt.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    I do not have a coach, I need to look into finding one. Definitely couldn't hurt.
    IMO it's not 100% necessary if you read the book and really try hard to learn and practice the lifts exactly as described. But it is extremely helpful, and if you are starting out it may help you learn the lifts quicker and with fewer mistakes along the way. Make sure it is an SSC.

    That being said, the book is written with the intent of self-instruction. I learned everything via the book but eventually did get a coach to review my form (I don't see him regularly, just once thus far for some in-person coaching during a workout).

    The Technique forum here is a great way to get feedback though. Post a video there and let someone have a look at it.

  5. #5
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    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    Also, I think I'm going to start back with an empty bar and maybe go up in 2 lbs increments (or less?) in the press to try and slowly build up my back. Does that sound like a good idea?
    IMHO, it's a bad idea, bordering on the terrible.
    Injuries happen, and going back to square one, losing most of your progress, should be avoided, if at all possible.
    I've had my back locking up reaching for an umbrella on the back seat of the car; after deadlifting 140Kg the night before. Was it the deadlift? Very unlikely. Would I have gained anything by resting one week and going back to deadlift 70Kg? Surely not.

    So my advice would be to keep moving your back, lift what you can, find an exercise you can do without too much pain. And don't reset too much.

    As for your problem with the press, it's difficult to say anything without a video.
    The difference between overextending your lumbar spine (you don't want to do that) and arching your upper back thrusting the chest up and high is subtle, and difficult to teach remotely.
    My only advice would be to really squeeze your glutes and lock your legs solid. It's difficult to overextend your lumbar with your glutes locked hard, and it's difficult to really lock the glutes hard if your legs are not locked too.

    Hope this helps,

    IPB

  6. #6
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    Apr 2018
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    Yeah, post a video, so we can intelligently comment. Otherwise I'm going to blindly cue you to tighten your abs just before and during the rep.

    Keep eating and lifting.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2018
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    Toronto, ON, CA
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    Make sure you're performing a correct Valsalva maneuver. A belt only helps you support your spine with better intra-abdominal pressure, but it doesn't do much if you're not breathing into it properly. I'm no coach, but given your age and size, the weights you're using probably aren't heavy enough yet that you can't support your spine with a properly performed Valsalva, belt or no.

    As IPB mentioned, tense your glutes and quads, then take a deep breath into your belly (not your chest) before tightening your abs. This can be tough to do at the bottom of a press and can interfere with using your hip drive and stretch reflex for a bit of rebound. A lot of people like to do it at the top while the weight is locked out overhead.

    I may be talking out of turn here, as I know extra work isn't really encouraged under NLP, but if back strength is a major concern you could maybe include something like back extensions on your power clean days as long as you don't go nuts with it. Someone more experienced than myself may tell you this is a terrible idea though.

    As far as the diet thing goes, if you're not comfortable eating to gain, at the very least make sure you're getting loads of protein. We're talking at least 200 g/day. Even if you keep your calories at a maintenance level with sufficient protein you should be able to gain some muscle while dropping some excess body fat, but keep in mind it may not be optimal for maximum long-term strength gains. At some point you'll need to eat for size if you want the strength gains to keep coming, but from looking at your measurements I can understand why you might be wary of gaining body fat. Just remember that muscle is metabolically costly, so as you build it that muscle will help you burn fat even while you're hunched over your desk at work. Your resting metabolic rate is your body's biggest calorie expenditure by a significant margin (~60-75% of daily energy expenditure), and building lean muscle increases it, so just make sure your diet isn't sabotaging muscle gains.

    My $0.02 at least!

  8. #8
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    Oct 2017
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    Definitely find a coach. I was lucky enough to get some help on the press from a guy in the gym. It's a really hard lift to do properly. I no do it slightly differently from the SS model. The key with all lifts is somewhat the same-get tight and stay tight. If you relax at any point -such as taking the bar off the hooks-then things go wrong. It took some cueing to help me get lats, arms, abs, upper back, lower back, glutes and legs all to stay tight.

    I find going slower better. Keep it strict, tight and controlled.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2018
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I don’t think I’ve been flexing the glutes so I’ll make sure I do next time I press. I’ll go through rips videos on the press again and make sure I’m doing it right. I’ll try and get video next time too. I tried to do some squats with just the bar today but my back wasn’t quite up for it yet. I still have one really tight spot that wants to lock back up. Air squats are fine, I’m sure a couple more days will get it back to normal.

    FWIW I’ve been eating about 2700 cal a day with 200 grams of protein. I’m not used to eating so little fat yet but I’m working on it. I think I need to start eating oatmeal or something to bump my fiber up. May even start eating sourdough bread again. I’ve been paleo(ish) for a while now pre SS. down about 8 lbs without exercise but I want to gain lean body mass.

  10. #10
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    I still have one really tight spot that wants to lock back up.
    For tight spots, I found the use of a tennis ball helpful. You lie on the floor, face up, put the tennis ball under the tight spot, and then roll on top of it, trying to keep it on the spot. It's going to be fairly painful, but it usually helps breaking knots.

    Hope this helps,

    IPB

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