Low back injury and stiffness is the most common ailment I work with when coaching powerlifters. While the Big 3 can build a tremendously strong back, they can also be your worst enemy if you’re missing some prerequisites.
90/90 Hip Lift
Powerlifting tends to generate a very extensor based tone. Anterior pelvic tilt, tight quads and glutes.. I’m sure you’ve heard all of the things about hips and back at this point.
The 90/90 Hip Lift allows you to return back to a more “neutral” position after training so your back isn’t cranked on all day after training.
I’ve also found this to be a great tool to teach lifters to get a diaphragmatic breath if they struggle with bracing.
Fundamentally, you have 2 main lower body movement patterns you are training in powerlifting: the squat and the hip hinge.
The Romanian Deadlift allows you to develop the ability to hip hinge well (flexing the hips while keeping a stable spine) which is indispensable when working on building a strong deadlift.
Programmed as either a warmup or accessory movement, these are a great option to improve deadlift technique and back strength.
Named after the great Ed Coan himself. These will expose any weaknesses you have in your deadlift technique and reward proper deadlift technique in deadlift variation that is quite specific to your competition deadlift pattern.
I like to program these as a main deadlift movement in preparatory blocks. Yes, there’s a whole slew of other factors such as technique, fatigue management and postural compensations that we would need to address too if dealing with a stiff or painful back, but the above 3 are a great place to start.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you to overcome your training obstacles and put up PR totals:
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