Bitchy Back

TAGS: bitchy back, plank, pain, matt rhodes, rehab


I have a bitchy lower back. What are some lifts I can do to help/work around this? I am not competitive, I just love to lift. I don't want to not squat or deadlift, I just don't want to hurt myself either. I'm a family man. I've got to be healthy to care of them. I read that you have back issues, so I figure you're the guy to ask. Can you help a brother out?

I got you!

It's hard to say what will work and what won't. I just tried everything and kept a mental note of what felt good/bad, etc.

For me, flexion (bending forward) and twisting is what jacks me up. As long as I kept my back super tight and arched, I'm usually good.

Rule No. 1 - If it hurts, stop doing it. Sounds simple, but you'd be amazed at how dumb we can be. I accepted the fact that there are exercises that I just can't do anymore.

Rule No. 2 - Go slow! Start with planks, back raise holds, cobras...don't jump into RDL's, good mornings, back raises, etc. See how the most basic bodyweight movements feel. Build them. After a little while (2-4 weeks maybe?), try an RDL with 95 pounds for 2-3 sets of 10 and see how you feel the next day.

Sore is ok, but pain is bad. If you work your back, it should be sore. There's a difference between sore and pain. Figure it out and keep plugging along.

Rule No. 3 - When you start squatting, pulling, standing military presses, or anything else, wear a belt! Be smart. Eventually, you might be able to keep the belt off until the heavier sets, but don't be a hero.

Rule No. 4 - Drop ab movements that bother you. For me, no more sit-ups or even pulldown abs. Most of my work is planking (on the floor, stability balls, blast straps), ab wheel, and hanging leg raises. Again, for me flexion bothered me (sit-ups, pulldown abs, etc). A basic crunch where I try to drive my low back into the ground helps. Sometimes it hurts, so I just stop and wait to fight another day. Do them every workout. Make ab work a priority...not an afterthought.

Rule No. 5 - Pulling with straps. This kills me. It makes me feel like less of a man, but it does wonders on my back. I tried the hook grip and it just didn't cut it for me. So, in the future I'll do my pulling double overhand with straps (when the weight gets heavy). This will keep my back from twisting. I noticed this using the hook grip. This past weekend I pulled over/under and it tweaked my back on the underhand side. So, I'll save that for meet day.

Good luck and keep me posted.

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