Working around things - Back Problems

  • I am gearing myself up for my first 12 week challenge. One of the problems I have to deal with is back problems. I damaged my back a few years ago so have to be really careful. My last try at getting fit came to grief in the gym with free weights while doing squats and I was off work for 3 months. Can't afford to do that but also can't afford to stay at 265pounds

    Has anyone else had to deal with this? How did you choose your exercises.

  • Nils here

    Maybe try walking and light jogging,  I am heavy and have low back pain a way I get lots exercise and not feel the pain iis swimming.  But change foods eat (Obviously) and add exercise you will see changes that change you......

  • I have two herniated disks. I no longer perform squats, an unable to run, and have to perform exercises with extreme care. I have to stretch everyday to help relieve muscle tightness and keep the swelling at bay.  Water aerobics and the elliptical are the lease intrusive on your lower back.  It is very important to shed the fat and strengthen the core muscles. The abdominal muscles (especially the deep abs) are crucial in supporting and preventing low back pain so I would encourage you to incorporate an array of abdominal exercises. (bicycle exercise, oblique crunch, medicine ball sit ups,  etc..)

    Warming up is essential and utilizing proper lifting techniques is the key. If desired, you can wear a weight belt to give you extra support when lifting heavy weights. Most importantly, wearing footwear with adequate cushioning and support help absorb shock and decrease the risk of back pain.

    I incorporate walking squats instead of dead lifts, or use a large exercise ball, place it against the wall and simulate a sitting motion to perform ball squats (keep the knee at a 90 degree angle)

    Massage has helped me tremendously to keep stiffness and spasms at bay. Begin your routine slowly and little by little you can strengthen your back, shed weight and be a better you!



  • Hi Lorii

    Thanks for this really useful advice. Interested that you mentioned using an eliptical machine.  I was thinking about using an eliptical exercise machine rather than running/jogging to avoid impact jarring my back.

    I wondered how you used the speed/level functions on the machine to get the "level of intensity" they talk about in Body for Life. I was thinking of moving the levels up over the 12 weeks and increasing speed in the individual workouts through the levels of intensity - is that right???



  • I increase my resistance level every minute and my speed every two minutes. Here is what my workout looks like: (Please do what works best for you and don't get hung on this chart)

    minute # resistance level speed range (MPH)

    0-1 7                         6.0-7.0

    1-2 7                         6.0-7.0

    2-3 8                         7.0-8.0

    3-4 10                         7.0-8.0

    4-5 12                         8.0-9.0

    5-6 14                         8.0-9.0

    6-7 9                         7.0-8.0

    7-8 10                         7.0-8.0

    8-9 12                         8.0-9.0

    9-10 14                         8.0-9.0

    10-11 9                         7.0-8.0

    11-12 10                         7.0-8.0

    12-13 12                         8.0-9.0

    13-14 14                         8.0-9.0

    14-15 9                         7.0-8.0

    15-16 10                         7.0-8.0

    16-17 12                         8.0-9.0

    17-18 14                         8.0-9.0

    18-19 9                        12.0-13.0

    19-20 7                         5.0-6.0

  • My chart did not come out as planned. Send me your email and I will send it to you directly.

  • Thanks that was really helpful - don't worry about sending it. Did you have that chart with you on the machines as a guide?

  • Yes, in fact I have an entire manual that I keep with me for all my training. I place a large post- it- note on the machine which indicates the routine and have programmed my music for each level. It's actually fun!

  • Hi lorri. Did first aerobic session this morning using your chart. A real challenge absolutely done-in at the end of it. Thx!!

  • Antinous,

    Glad to hear it! Just work as hard as you can and in the end you will be victorious. Make every day count. Keep up the good work my friend.



  • Antinous and Lori - I have dealt with herniations of L4 and L5 for many many years and have recently had some sciatica issues too.  As we all know back pain can be debilitating.  Stay away from spine compressing exercises when possible.  I've been skeptical of chiropractors and acupuncturists, but from advice of a fellow skeptic, I have been seeing an acupuncturist with some favorable results.  She turned me on to an enzyme produced in Germany many years ago called Wobenzym N.  The product is supposed to help with the reduction of inflammation throughout the body and many claim that it has helped their back issues.  I have recently started taking the product, but probably too early for results.  In the past, stretching of the hips and hamstrings have worked wonders for me.

    If you have access to a pool, swimming is one helluva low impact, but very intense cardio alternative.  This is especially true if you aren't an efficient swimmer.  I highly recommend it.

    In 2003 I went through the challenge (unofficially), went from 207 to 192 at and wound up at 4% bodyfat.  Fast forward to 2011 and as of yesterday, I'm giving it another shot starting at 220 lbs!

    Best to you in 2011!