After doing around 8 months of bodybuilding routines with little gains I finally decided to switch to a powerlifting workout, StrongLift 5.5 by Mehdi, I am 178 cm tall, weight around 57.4 Kg.

Before this I had only done high bar squat and bench press. But after looking at the SL videos I found that my form was poor, e.g. I wasn't going parallel on squats, my shoulders were coming off in bench press, hell I wasn't even holding the bar properly (not on the palm).

After completing two workout days - I noticed lower back pain on first day, especially after the row, I thought my form was still not 100% and there has to be some soreness. It was better after a day of rest but the second workout of OHP and Deadlift brought the pain back. Although its better after a days rest, it has me worried.

I need to know how to prevent this pain in my next workouts, exactly what to look out for.


  • Video yourself doing the exercises and show us here. We then might be able to assess your form. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 5:38

2 Answers 2


Lower back pain is commonly caused by improper form. Squats, DL's, and rows will do this to you if you allow your lumbar to go into flexion during any parts of the lifts. Film yourself when squatting, deadlifting, etc, and see if you are maintaining extension or going into flexion. My experience is this is why low back pain persists.

Also, word to the wise: don't listen to people talking about "building a solid base first," or "use machines" or other such nonsense. How do you think you build a solid base? By moving weight. You simply won't get strong using machines, and they are a great way to force your body into an unnatural movement pattern. Too many personal trainers are adult baby-sitters. Take their advice for what it is worth as well (generally not much).

Deload, practice with the empty bar, maybe more than you like, and lock in your form. Some stretching, foam rolling may help you ease into the proper position for each lift. Doing some easy stretching after your session may help as well.

If the pain persists, deload completely and just use the bar to hone your technique. Watch and rewatch all the videos you can find. Keep filming yourself do each and every lift, try and connect what you see in the video with the way it feels when doing to movement. If you really can't stop the pain, you'll need to find an experiened trainer. If you are in the US, attend a Starting Strength seminar: http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/seminars#ssl1 Spend the money to work with someone serious, if you are serious.

Best of luck.

  • Thanks a lot for the advice! I have been watching a lot of videos lately and I think I can do it now. Lower back pain could have been because my chest was not completely out in row and deadlift, plus I got to flex my hips and use the legs to stabilize the movements. Will continue on fixing the form with lighter weights, and will film if possible! Unfortunately I am not from US and good trainers are nonexistent where I live. Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 17:53
  • Another option I didn't mention is to substitute rows with chins or pull-ups. It's arguable they are better movements than rows, but really that is up to. Point is, there won't be as much of a moment acting on your lumbar with pullups, so that may help to alleviate the strain while still allowing you to get strong. Stick with it!
    – Jake
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 1:03

Judging by your height and weight, you seem like you require a more beginners approach to weight lifting and power lifting is not recommended. Since you dont have a solid base, it will be very tough for you to mantain a proper form. I recommend you to start using machines for all the mentioned exercises, the machines prevent unwanted injuries and also help mantain your form, work on the free weights only with an instructor spotting you and looking out for your form.

Slowly progress increasing your strength and know your limits, as excessive weight can severely harm your back or cause troublesome injuries.

  • I have been working with the machines for these past months, have used almost all the regular machines for these exercises and you can see the result. I don't think it would be a good idea to leave this program now. Yes I asked for a trainer but they don't even know the correct form as in Mehdi's videos, they are like you are squatting too low, don't bench to your chest, this row technique is wrong etc etc Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 17:38
  • Since you have been working out alone till now, consider signing up for a trainer and workout his way for a month or so. Once you see yourself building a strong base with free weights, then you may take up the advanced exercises like stronglifts Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 18:02
  • In the past I had signed up for a personal training session. All they do is follow the same bodybuilding routine but ask you to lift more weight while giving support on each rep, something that I instantly hated. Moreover I doubt trainers in my city's gold gym are certified as some of them have no idea about the correct technique even on machines. So not a good idea.... Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 14:07

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