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Old 08-30-2012, 09:15 AM   #1
Sonny Gelinas
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 9
Default Back Pain, lowering weight

Hey Guys,
This is always my go to place for answers when it comes to lifting problems. Thanks for all the help you have already given me.

I have been attending crossfit gyms for the past 8 months and have been doing hours of research on my own about Olympic lifting. I don't have a problem lifting the weights and have been working on my for more and more.

The major problem I am having is lower back pain when I am forced to bring the weight back to the ground. When I say forced I mean when we have a WOD that involved any oly lifts that are lighter in weight I have to lower it to the ground. The rule at the gym is that if we drop it once the rep does not count and if we do it twice the set does not count.

I don't think it has anything to do with the members of the gym but the fact the gym is trying to save their weights. But that is just my opinion, I do not know for sure.

I have the same problem weather I am lowering from the snatch position or the clean position. When I lower it I go to the hip position then down. my back does not hurt at all when I do snatches and clean when I am able to drop the weight. But now I have to lower it and I can't finish any work out that has a oly lift involved due to back pain.

I have talked to the coaches about this issue and they keep telling my its my form when doing the initial lift that is making my back tight. But that does now make any sense because it doesn't hurt when I drop the weight but does hurt when I have to lower the weight.

Please can anyone help so I don't have to argue with the coaches about obvious things any longer. They say there is one way and one way only. I say that everyone is a little different. anyways thanks for the help!!
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:18 AM   #2
Javier Sanjuan
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Originally from Queens, NY; live in Manhattan, KS (Army Captain)
Posts: 143


First of foremost, I would leave that CrossFit gym immediately. They're obviously not in tune with safety and are more worried about their equipment (if your assumption is correct) than the well-being of one of their patrons. Anyone getting into this business where we drop weights from a high point in a controlled fashion should know that they're going to eventually replace something. That's also why the manufacturers make them the way they do! A little oversight and proper instruction as to how to safely drop weight in a controlled manner will help lengthen the life of the equipment, but not dropping the weight AT ALL is a little ridiculous on top of being really dangerous.

Regardless, it comes down to personal safety. I always have to question CrossFit gyms and this culture they think they have to convey. Everything with them is about being fast and, if there's a little deviance in form, it's acceptable because you're trying to be as fast as you can! Does that make ANY sense? People spend their entire lives trying to perfect these lifts and become somewhat decent at them. CrossFit "coaches" get 15-20 minutes of instruction on how to teach the snatch (!); on top of their 10-12 hours of total instruction and test, they get to walk away with a certificate and can open a gym where people don't know the difference between good and bad coaching. There's no continuing education (God forbid you tell a CrossFitter there's anything else other than CrossFit, which is nothing more than your standard circuit training) forced on these "coaches," so most of them will never try to learn any more than what was showed to them; likewise, the CrossFit HQ does a poor job at quality control and assurance (that's another topic for another day). Lucky for you, you used COMMON SENSE and realized that something was wrong and continued doing your research. It's just unfortunate that there are many others who are experiencing this.

The answer is simple in my eyes: you're 100% correct and they're 150% wrong. The fact that they have a punishment for that stuff, too, is a little ridiculous. It just comes to show how little they know about the classic lifts, human capabilities, and general social skills. I would excuse yourself from their facility and never go back.

Just a little background on me (since I think I'll get some push back for the CrossFit talk): I'm a USAW Level 1 coach (Level 2 trained, but haven't met all the ridiculous requirements to be acknowledged as one). I'm hoping to get my CSCS when I return from this deployment and will look to go back to school for Physical Therapy. I love weightlifting. I'm also a CrossFit Level 1 certified guy with multiple courses in that, too. I actually care about people's well-being and safety and movements while they're conducting the classic lifts and want to learn more and more ... and then some more. I'm never satisfied with what I know -- I'm always looking for what I don't know or what new information is available. I can't say the same for these guys based off their comments to their patrons. Therefore, I think I can comfortably say that you should walk away from this place, and it seems like you're also on the same page.
Javier A. Sanjuan
Olympus Barbell Club

Dear God, please help me lift heavy and be awesome. Thanks. Amen.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:30 AM   #3
Blair Lowe
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 593

Don't round your back or hunch over as you lower them down.

Still it sounds preposterous to lower them down slowly to touch. Think controlled descent like any lift made at a meet.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:09 AM   #4
Sonny Gelinas
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Does anyone else have any suggestions?
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #5
Greg Everett
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What kind of back pain? Muscular? Where exactly?

Just because it doesn't hurt while you're lifting it doesn't mean that's not where the problem is. Video would help.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:21 PM   #6
Sonny Gelinas
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It is a muscular issue in my lower back. After about 30 mins and some stretching the pain goes away. I get the same pain doing kettle bell swings and anything lower the weight from shoulders and overhead. I will try to get a video ASAP. Thanks
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:16 AM   #7
Allen Yeh
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Location: Charleston, SC
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If you are getting it from KB swings as well is it possible you are using back extension in place of hip extension?
"And for crying out loud. Don't go into the pain cave. I can't stress this enough. Your Totem Animal won't be in there to help you. You'll be on your own. The Pain Cave is for cowards.
Pain is your companion, don't go hide from it."
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:54 AM   #8
Sonny Gelinas
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Well I initially figured out that when I do the kettle bell swing I bring it straight down apposed to swinging it down. So it does help when I swing the kettle bell out further when I bring it down. But I since you posted that I did some swings and worked more on my hip explosion for power then just muscling it.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:57 AM   #9
Sonny Gelinas
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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I also have been doing some oly lifting classes with a qualified trainer and he noticed that I have weaker muscles in my lower back. He said that because we were working on snatches and at position two ( which it just below my knees, with my hips pushed out) I was struggles to keep the position. Like half my body was fighting to get out of that position because it was so uncomfortable.

So my remedy is to keep working on my oly lifts two or three times a week. Any other advise?
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