Advice needed: Back Pain + Fat/Weight Loss

  1. Advice needed: Back Pain + Fat/Weight Loss

    I started to exercise again today after having injured my back at work several months ago, and I'm more sore than I anticipated. I'd appreciate advice or pointers on a exercise selection / arrangement and scheduling that will allow me to train without irritating my back so much. Right now my left Erector Spinae is sore and spasming slightly - I may be a bit paranoid about reinjuring my back, but this slight pain is making me nervous enough to reconsider my approach to this, so I'd like some advice.

    My intent was to ease back into exercising by follow this routine for a few months. The plan was to lift/cycle on M/W/F while building up to 45 minutes of bicycling + abs on Tue/Thur/Saturday.

    This is what I did today:
    3x12 with 2 minutes of bicycling between sets (similar to Tabata Intervals) -
    Deadlifts with Upright Rows
    Flat Bench
    Overhead Squats
    Barbell Curls

    Thoughts: I used extremely light weights on all sets today, could have done 15+ reps but did 12. Right now I'm leaning towards just dropping the weight on the overhead squats and using an empty bar for 4-6 weeks, but maybe it would be wiser to just do one Olympic-Style exercise to hit my back and legs instead of doing squats and deads.
    I'm not sure what the best option is, but i'm pretty sure that I need to do deadlifts while I'm not so sure about squats.
    Deadlifts actually feel GOOD, and I am guessing that they somehow decompress my discs. Barbell Squats hurt my back, but what is the alternative - leg extensions? Dumbell Squats? A little of both?

    Injuries: I have injured my back multiple times and have also broken my tibia. I've had two compression fractures, a pelvic fracture, and have irritated my SI joint / had a Gluteal Muscle Pull recently. My leg injury and stiffness in my opposite anke prevents me from running (from over-compensation?), so I am sticking with cycling for the moment. I can manage Sprints, but after running more than, say, 50 yards, I start to lose my balance because my anterior tibilalis is also weak and there is a small area of my leg with nerve damage from a puncture wound. This obviously doesn't help with my balance.

    Schedule: I work evenings, plenty of time to workout in the mornings and recover before work in the evening, but I work in a hospital and can easily re-injure my back there, so my back cannot be too fatigued prior to work.

    I have an adjustable bench (incline only, no decline) with leg extension/leg curl attachments, preacher curl attqachement,
    2 barbells, 2 plate-loading dumbells, sandbags, wide variety of elastic bands, and a stationary bike.

    I'm now willing to do whatever it takes to lose weight because I am afraid that my bodyweight is too much for my weak back to handle, and I do not want to end up completely crippled/hobbled by a combination of my weight and my injuries. I have Clen tabs, DHEA and Epistane in addition to a PCT stack. My fridge is stocked with fish and skinless chicken breats, my freezer full of mixed vegetables, and my pantry is overflowing with beans. I'm about to order a new food scale from amazon, and I'm at the point where I'd be willing to start smoking crack just to lose weight.

    I'm 37, 5'5" 185lbs, 30% BF. Blood pressure, cholesterol, etc is normal. i do not have the funds for blood tests.

    Diet is clean and I have good self-control. I could easily starve my way down to 135 lbs if I thought it would do any good. My problem is pain and metabolism. I think my metabolism was slowed/screwed up big time when I was injured, as I have gained a good 35 lbs of fat over the past 8 years. I went from taking int 3000+ calories per day, running, biking and lifting daily, (Army ROTC) to suddenly stopping everything when I was initially injured. I have started/stopped exercising several times since my injuries before, and have gotten down to 170 lbs only to stop and "balloon" back up to what seems to be my new "set-point" of 185-188lbs. I always quit because of back pain and, to be completely honest, fear of injuring myself so badly that I need back surgery.

  2. So I think I'm dumping the squats completely for now. Today, the second day of my routine, I decided to try Tabata Intervals on my bike instead of training for endurance/time.
    The Tabata routine I used called for 5 minutes for a warm-up followed by 4 minutes of serious effort - 20 seconds of sprinting alternating with 10 seconds of rest, for 8 repetitions. Followed up with a 5 minute cool-down period.
    My quads were on fire after that, so I think I will call my Tabata intervals my "quad routine" for now (will add 2-3 sets of leg extensions in a month or so) and I think that I will research a solid "core training" routine for stabilizing my back and midsection prior to trying squats again in a few months. Between the Tabatas, leg extensions, deadlifts, and core training, I hope I will be able to tolerate squats in 6-8 weeks.

  3. Just off the top of my head, I would say use machines instead of free weights until your body becomes adjusted but I noticed where you work out at home. If I were you, I would lift with DB's and look at plyometrics training until you become adjusted. Good Luck

    Also don't really know what Tabata Intervals are, but it sounds like HITT cardio which would be a good idea.

  4. Hey, Thanks for the reply.

    I prefer to workout at home but can easily join a nearby Gym if I do need to move to machines as you've advised.

    I walk to work (5 blocks) and they have a very nice gym on campus, but I think it is easier to do my current routine at home. I bicycle between all sets (in lieu of "rest") and I am splitting my routine into two periods each day -- weights in the morning and Intervals in the afternoon (Off on wednesdays and weekends). I dropped the squats from my routine and I am doing Bodyweight-Only squats (followed by leg extensions) for the next three weeks. I will also add prone back extensions to the end of two workouts each week (tuesday/friday).

    I am not dropping Deadlifts because they seem to help my back pain, and I am currently working everything in the 15 rep range. I'm still experimenting with the routine, but other than the lack of squats and addition of bicycling, I'm now following the "Fat Loss I" routine from Alwyn Cosgroves book "The New Rules of Lifting". Not counting last week, it should take me nine weeks to get through all three of his fat-loss routines, and I will not push my luck - when I try squats again in three weeks it will be Lightweight, dumbell-only squats for at least the 9 remaining weeks of that routine.

    Tabata Intervals are HIIT Intervals (Tabata was one of the researchers who initiated the Japanaese physiology study that documented the value of Intervals), and I am following the protocol to the letter.

    I still need a simple core-training routine and will look into it this afternoon.

  5. Also, I would suggest taking Cissus, Glucosomine and fish oil. This should help with stiffness and pain.



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