As we all know squats and deadlifts are keys to success in building a solid physique. And if you didn't know that, now you do 🙂

With squats and deadlifts, you need to use progressive overload to build serious strength e.g. adding more weight as you get stronger, as well as more time under tension (volume). However, if not approached correctly this overload can lead to back pain.

So how do you add proper warm up and recovery work into your training regimen to reduce chances of developing back pain?

Always warm-up properly to get your blood flowing to the muscles you will be utilising e.g. a air-bike warm-up for leg day. You ideally want to break a light sweat during your warm up, so your body and central nervous system are primed to lift. My go to squat and deadlift lower body warm-up is listed below, followed by the post workout cool down to reduce your chances of developing back pain or managing it if you already have it.

Lower Body Warm-up

  • 5 Mins Easy Row/Run/Bike
  • 2 x 30 Second L Sit or Tuck Sit (Scaled Version) Or Anything That Activates the Abdominals for Bracing During the Big Lifts
  • 2 x 10 Cossack Squats Each Side
  • 2 x15 Groin Stretch
  • 2 x 10 Single Leg Hip-Ups
  • 2 x 5 Cycle Jumps -
  • 2 x 10 Deadlifts with a 4-count eccentric at 35% 1RM focusing on proper form and abdominal engagement
  • 2 x 10 Squats with a 4- count eccentric at 35% 1RM focusing on proper form and abdominal engagement

Lower Body Cool Down 

  • 5-10 Mins Easy Row/Run/Bike
  • Foam Roll/Stretch Tight Areas
  • Stretch Hamstrings as Needed
  • Strength IT Band as Needed
  • Stretch Groin, Adductors, and Abductors as Needed
  • Hold Knees to Chest 2 x 30 Second
  • Scorpion Stretch
  • Knee to Chest Pull Across Body Supine Stretch

If you do experience back pain, it most likely is due to a shift in the sacroiliac joint:


and/or compression of your sciatic nerve:


Most of the time your hip bone (ilium) has shifted up in relation to your sacrum and other hip bone. This is usually due to an overworked piriformis muscle. By normalising the piriformis you can usually reset the SI joint on your own. Also, the piriformis lies on top of the sciatic nerve, so releasing this can relieve the cause and symptoms of sciatica. So how do you normalise your piriformis? I have included 3 exercises below. The most effective being the one where you put your leg onto a table or plyo box.


If you have absolutely unbelievable pain during or after a lift- seek medical attention.

However, if you feel you can manage it go home and ice it. Then after 24 hours heat it. Ice has got a lot of flak these days-but it has been proven to reduce inflammation in the deep tissues whereas heat only hits the superficial tissues-so if it’s a deep ache always ice it first. Then heat then next day, slowly work your way back into moving and most importantly get blood flow moving to the sore areas again to optimise your recovery.

If you suspect a hernia - which is rare - know that 8 out of 10 people with back pain get better regardless of treatment, and most hernias heal on their own in 6-8 weeks. However, if after 3 -5 days you are not getting better then please see a physio or physician for a plan of care that suits you best.

If you would like a more personalised approach to training, which is bespoke to you and will change your life, then ZainFit are currently taking on new clients on the advanced ZainFit Online Coaching Programme. For more info check out the services tab on this website.

Written by Brandon Smith, Owner at

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