No announcement yet.

Lower Back Pain Worsening During Calorie Deficit

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Lower Back Pain Worsening During Calorie Deficit


    Recently, I have been running the Powerbuilding 2 program during a calorie deficit in an effort to bring my waist circumference down to a safer level before going back to a strength or hypertrophy-specific program. For current stats, I'm a 6', 194 lbs male, 33 y/o, waist circumference ~36". However, as the weeks have progressed, while my numbers on the bar have stayed steady or even seen slight improvements as my bodyweight has been going down, a long-term recurring lower back issue that had receded during previous training has been flaring up significantly in the last couple weeks, to the point where squats using the recommended intensities will leave me with a "tender" lower back when I finish (they feel okay during the movement, it's after finishing a set of any RPE of 6 or higher where I start to feel it, with higher volume or intensity feeling a bit worse. The primary drivers of the legs feel totally ready to go as they should at those RPE's, though), and I've been feeling it more often when not training. My caloric deficit has been sufficient to lose about a pound of bodyweight a week, so roughly a 500 calorie deficit. Higher-rep deadlift-related work also leaves me with the lower back soreness, but I can generally work through it fine. Pressing either on bench or standing have been no issue. When I feel the pain, it can get up to somewhere around a 7 on a subjective pain scale. Although it backs down in time to move on to the next movement.

    So, with that all established, what would be a better approach here:
    Sticking with my current dietary needs to hit my waistline goal, but doing a modification on the movements that have been problematic?
    Continuing with the program, but ending the cut in order to get sufficient recovery resources?
    Switching to a lower-back rehab program, either while still cutting, or putting the cut on hold to assist with recovery resources?
    Something else?

    I don't have a specific "deadline" to hit the targets I'm going for at the moment, especially since my state is still doing lockdowns, so I can be patient.

  • #2
    If your primary goal right now is weight management, I would recommend staying with your current dietary needs. You may need to back down the weights for a little while and that is perfectly fine. It is okay to drop the weights down to where you are not experiencing symptoms post workout. Sometimes it is not as much the caloric deficit that is the cause so much as getting above prescribed RPE/adaptations for a few sessions. This can lead to what you are reporting where things feel fine in training but the experience of symptoms afterwards. Sometimes it is not about working through in terms of continuing to push, or even maintain, but letting symptoms come back to par prior to starting to climb again.


    • #3
      That makes sense. And I'd certainly prefer to just modify what I'm already doing moreso than change them entirely. I had my first session for the week today and the squats went terribly (which is always a bummer, because I love squats!), so if what I'm reading from your reply is what I think, maybe aim for what would normally be an RPE or even two lower than what's prescribed for the rest of this week? I'm on Week 5 of PB2, so this is a pretty high-volume week in relative terms, and then Week 6 is going to be my pivot which will start bringing in RPE 8 singles for openers.