I am 22, 5'10'', weigh 90 kilograms (198 pounds) and I am constrained to exercise before 9:00 and after 20:00.

I therefore exercise twice a day indoors (geek's life) . And it's mostly squats (with variations), pushups, russian twists (that exercises obliques as well as the abs) and burpees.

I have to limit the reps of the squats and burpees as the lower back aches shortly after starting the squats. I cant exert much before the ache kicks in. And no, my back never bothers me when I am not exercising, and I am flexible enough to touch my toes.

What factors are putting the strain on my back? I tried taking these apart individually, but I cant pinpoint anything.

  1. Inadequate warm up
  2. going to the shower just minutes after the burpees
  3. bad form with the burpees
  4. exercising twice a day
  • Do you have any rest days? Form problems can cause all kinds of issues, as well as carryover from one exercise to the next. You also need to let your body recover from work. Nov 20, 2011 at 13:56
  • are the squats done with weights? a barbell, dumbbells?
    – matt b
    Nov 20, 2011 at 20:07
  • How is your hip mobility? Can you go very low in your squat (see: Ass to grass) while keeping your chest high?
    – user2396
    Nov 22, 2011 at 4:53

3 Answers 3


Probably this:

russian twists (that exercises obliques as well as the abs)

Twisting your lower back is one of the most dangerous things you can do to it.

From Mike Boyle's article:

This is how I feel about rotational stretches for the low back. They're like scratching a scab. I believe that most if not all of the many rotary exercises done for the lumbar spine were misdirected. Both Sahrmann (Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes) and Porterfield and DeRosa (Mechanical Low Back Pain: Perspectives in Functional Anatomy) indicate that attempting to increase lumbar spine ROM isn't recommended and potentially dangerous.

Here's the article where he cites those sources. I can't help but personally agree as rotational movements have always caused me back pain even if they do relieve it in the short run.

Other causes of exercise induced back pain:

  • Muscle density issues: mainly muscle tightness/trigger points forming. Forming rolling is what I find helps the most. Do before/after training and whenever you feel tightness.

  • Muscular soreness: just as any other muscle gets sore your back gets sore. That's normal, although if it's chronic severe then its probably something else. DOMS would come within 24-48 hours of training and last couple of days at most.

  • Lack of proper warm up: you need a solid warm up protocol that includes foam rolling, static and dynamic stretching. I go into detail in my Ultimate Warm Up article which also builds on Mike Boyle's principles.

  • Insufficient Recovery: I don't recommend training twice a day, at least to start. Stick to 3-4 times a week to allow your body enough time to recover. As your recovery ability improves you can increase your volume.

Probably a bunch of other stuff like poor form and poor flexibility/mobility. It sounds like you just started exercising so I recommend developing a slow and steady pace. Fitness is more like a marathon, it happens over many weeks, months and years. Push yourself but within reason and vary up your training, sounds like you are doing very repetitive movements.

  • Yes, I used used to do 80 burpees in 15 minutes and be satisfied, but got lazy for more than a year thanks to an ankle injury. I didnt know that Russian twists can be bad; I gotta check out better ab exercises. You're right about repetitive movements too, and I will check out the "insufficient recovery" part myself. Nov 21, 2011 at 8:25
  • I recommend looking into 'anti-rotation' and isometric movements like Full or Half or Side Planks.
    – mike
    Nov 21, 2011 at 19:03
  • Weak lower back?
  • Poor form?
  • Pre-existing condition?
  • Over-use?

Twisting exercises (like Russian twists) can aggravate lower back conditions.

You don't say what order you're doing things in, so it's hard to tell if a previous exercise is involved.

I'm not sure how taking a shower would cause the issue since you say the pain starts after doing the squats. You also don't say if you're doing the same routine twice a day, or if they're bodyweight squats.

Impossible to say much more, but I'd suspect form first, followed by a PEC, then fatigue, then weakness. There are likely other possible reasons, or other "priorities" of these and other factors.


It seems obvious that it's related to the squats, since the pain starts after that and the only non-body weight exercise you're doing are squats. I would have someone check your form either in person or via video (you can post a link here). Look at doing some body weight or goblet squats (light weight) to help with your form, here's a link to goblet squats: http://youtu.be/hPc0xLsPcAs.

Einstein: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html#ixzz1eFzmZoK5

  • I don't think we know they're not body-weight squats. Nov 20, 2011 at 18:50

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