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Deadlifts, squats, your thoughts
kalamantina posted:
Hi everyone.
I have been working out for a while, with the intention of being healthy, not just looking healthy.
maybe I am a bit paranoid, but whenever I see someone attempting a dead lift or a squat, I imagine how it can go bad and he snaps his back. I never do these exercises, instead I go to the machine where I lay flat and push my legs, and you can stack weights.
Should I do more squats or dead lifts? is the machine alternative sufficient? For legs I do the machine laying flat, then I do a machine where I sit on a chair, and then lift a bar with my legs, working out the quads, then another machine where I am sitting on another chair, my legs are raised , and I push a bar down, working out my gluteus.

What do you guys think?
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi Kalamantina,

Squats and deadlifts are great exercises. They use many of the large muscle groups and many functional muscles you use all the time like low back and legs for carrying things, or even just weight-bearing cardio exercises, or even just walking, in addition of course to all the upper body muscles. And they work balance and coordination too that you don't get with the machines you are using. I could see where looking at them for the first time you could get nervous. If done correctly, however, they can be just as safe as other exercises. But there's nothing written anywhere that you must do these exercises. You will feel strong if you do them, and there is benefit, and so if you decide to do so, then I suggest for sure that you have a trainer at the gym show you how, and of course start with very light weight. I've taught beginners with just a broomstick, and then built up with a solid fitness bar (the type with padding) that come in weights as light as 4-6 pounds. There's nothing wrong with the exercises you are doing (leg press etc.), and if you feel it in the target muscle, then that will work too to make you stronger as I'mm sure you have discovered. You migth want to try the exercises and see what yout hink. That's the only way you'll know for sure. Just get proper instruction and start light.
Tomato05 responded:
I also think squats and deadlifts are very good, and quite safe if done correctly.

I have "back issues" (I had vertebral fractures before); yet I can do both without any discomfort or problems. There are other exercises that I can feel are not good for my back, and I avoid them, but not squats and deadlifts.
kalamantina replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
these exercises never affect height?
kalamantina replied to Tomato05's response:
so you had a disk? and I assume you talked to your doctor about these exercises?
what exercises you feel are not good for the back?
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to kalamantina's response:
You're welcome. No, it's a myth that weight lifting stunts growth. Take care.
justmejust replied to kalamantina's response:
Hi kalamantina and nice to see you Tomato05, I did have a disc bulge in 2007 and my dr. sent me to a wonderful physical therapist that was gentle and knowledgable about easy daily exercises specifically for strengthening my core muscles safely and easily. Core muscles are key to protecting lower back discs. Now in 2010 my injured area was revealed to be naturally fused and fine now. I do keep up the stretches and now that I am stronger I do some of these more challenging exercises but I am extremely cautious as I practice them and incorporate them into my routine. Also as Rich said, I began a walking regimen as a transition which has been very beneficial. It is the easiest thing to do and very enjoyable and the body loves it. I walk about 1 to 4 miles now, and even began riding a recumbent bike in my basement in the winter and on the trail the rest of the year, but I love to bike. I want to get strong enough to play recreational tennis again!
Andie_WebMD_Staff replied to justmejust's response:
Hi there,

Just wanted to leave you a few resources from WebMD that offer tips and guidance on exercises to safely strengthen your back and leg muscles. Particularly, here is a clip from one that describes squats:

Why it's a winner: Squats work multiple muscle groups -- the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals -- at the same time.

How to: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your knees and lower your rear as if you were sitting down in a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles

Here's a few more:

Hope that helps, and remember that you can always ask our expert on the Back Pain Community for some guidance, as well.
Andie_WebMD_Staff replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
Here's a visual of right vs wrong posture for safe squats:

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