A leg routine for bad backs
08-17-2008 11:04 PM
A leg routine for bad backs
My back is ****ED up. When I was 18, I was diagnosed with spondlythesis (vertebral stress fractures) and a bulged disc. Because of this I had to sit out my senior year of football and sported the back brace for three months. Then again at 20, when my first Muay Thai fight was a month away, I got another diagnosis of spondy with bulged discs. The doc told me I would never kickbox again; I didn't listen. Two months later, I was wearing a back brace.
I finally got back in the gym, three months later. I began to figure out that any movement involving my legs would make my back ache. Even leg press was out of the question. So I cut out legs and my back stopped hurting.
Over the next year or so, I bulked up 40 lbs and soon I was disatisfied with my lack of leg development. I started to integrate more leg exercises into my routine, experimenting with which ones did or did not cause back pain. Apparently, I did not choose the right exercises because as of a month and a half ago, I was diagnosed with degernerative disc disease. One of my discs has bulged inward towards my spinal cord and tore my annulus (vertebral ligament). Thankfully, I can still lift but I can never squat, dead-lift, or even leg-press again.
Given my limitations, I developed a routine that allowed me to work my legs again. It involves mostly unilateral movements with minimal stress on the spine. If you decide to follow this routine, experiment with different exercises to see which ones keep your back healthy. I for example, cannot do elevated split squats. If it hurts your back, don't do it!
Here's the basic template, it can be modified depending on your goals and experience level:
- Heavy unilateral quad (1-5 reps)
- Heavy unilateral ham (6-8 reps)
- Light quad (6-10 reps)
- Light ham (8-10 reps)
For heavy uni-quad, I do a variation of the pistol squat. This will usually be either band assisted,
For heavy uni-ham, I do either single leg romanian dl,
incline single leg romanian dl,
or single leg good-morning.
Atm, I use a rep range of 12-15 instead of 6-8 to aid in the rehab process. when my back starts to heal, I will drop the reps and increase the weight.
For light quad, I do either modified step ups,
band-assisted pistols, or leg extentions.
For light ham, I'll do either glute-ham raises, machine ham curls, or single leg good-mornings.
As of now, my legs are gaining size; especially my VM and inner quads that were previously lacking.
08-18-2008 12:55 PM
congrats on keeping up the intensity in spite of everything.
08-18-2008 04:09 PM
Thanks, Suncloud. I thought I'd post this so hopefully, guys with the similar problems could begin to training their legs and stay pain-free.
08-18-2008 04:16 PM
08-18-2008 05:00 PM
It's not always that simple, my friend. For me, leg press puts to much pressure on the lower portion of the spine. Even unilateral leg press which allows me use less weight puts too much shearing force on my spine.
Originally Posted by Brolic
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