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Training Legs with a Bad back

Training the lower body with a bad back or history of back issues you might think that back squats and deadlift variations are something to stay away from.

This can be the case some of the time, but it could also be a case of adapting the exercise (such as changing form/position and/or load).

However, if you are struggling to include them in your programme, here are some great alternatives, which can be useful to focus on and progressively overload.

How about:


  1. backwards lunges

  2. forwards lunges

  3. walking lunges

  4. step ups

  5. Split squats and rear foot elevated split squats

  6. leg extensions

  7. leg curls

  8. leg press


Of course, there are many leg exercises that you can do, but some harder than others to progressively overload and/or add weight/load. These other exercises can be included into a programme too, such as accessory exercises.

You could choose a couple of the above exercises to focus on to improve strength in (for example, backwards lunges and leg press), and then can add a couple others.


E.G. Backwards lunges and leg press

3x10, 3x12, 4x12, 4x10, 4x8, 5x6

(perform each set and reps for 2 weeks each and you have yourself a 12 week plan). Accessory exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls could stay at 3x10 throughout 12 weeks (aiming to add load when it becomes easier.



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