Degenerated disks and deadlifts - why no back extensions or exercise bike Degenerated disks and deadlifts - why no back extensions or exercise bike

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Thread: Degenerated disks and deadlifts - why no back extensions or exercise bike

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Bolivar, MO
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    41

    Default Degenerated disks and deadlifts - why no back extensions or exercise bike

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    I'll start off with that title, which is what I used in the search earlier. Last week my deadlifts finally got above my bodyweight. I know I know, I'm weak; I've lost quite a bit of strength these last 10 years, and began Starting Strength deliberately lower to get in much more practice and time getting the lifts right before I got to heavier weights. But all weekend my lower back has been aggravated, mostly in the mornings, and less so as the day goes on. I'm suspecting my deadlifts and possible bad form as I'm running out of steam by the time I get to my deadlift block - only have an hour to train in the mornings before work, so I generally skip the rest periods between major exercises, other than what's needed putting weights back and resetting the rack for the next exercise. I also suspect I might want to concentrate for a short period on strengthening the associated core muscles and spinal erectors, along with my grip strength before loading up heavier deadlift loads. That way I can ensure my core is keeping my back straight. I'll probably back off a bit and work some lighter deadlifts, along with including some RDL's into my program; sorry Rip, I know I'll be NTDP, but as I get older I find I have to improvise things more often than not anymore.

    So why did I search for degenerated disks? Because over 20 years ago, shortly before retiring from the Air Force, I had my first major injury that started a period of fighting herniated disks. Upon MRI, it was discovered what is no surprise, L3, L4 and L5 were diagnosed as mild to moderately degenerated, with some occasional bone to bone contact. No surprise for anyone that spent a career in the military working and living in the field. Fast forward to this time 10 years ago, I slipped and took a partial fall down a flight of stairs that caused me 2 months of serious pain due to those disks. I had trouble walking, standing, setting, lying down, sleeping; everything was painful for a month and not even 1000mg Ibuprofin at a time helped. About a month in, borrowed and began using my parents' exercise bike which really helped begin the healing process. By the end of the third week, I was out of regular pain and mostly back to normal.

    Anyway, sorry for the longwinded narrative. Because of the pain this weekend, which is very mild, it did get me thinking about what Rip's and the community's views toward lifting with disk problems especially in us "older folks". So I searched for that here, and one thread I came across Rip mentions not doing any back extensions or exercise bike riding as they only aggravate the condition. But even after reading through the entire 11 pages of that thread, I didn't find a reason why mentioned. I would like to ask why that is, since I find reverse hyperextensions help me a lot when my lower back is sore (mostly in the mornings), and have found the exercise bike to really help with my recovery when I had that bad injury. If anyone could enlighten me why the thinking is these two exercises are bad, I'd like to hear. Thanks for listening

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,119

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    Not sure how you searched because this has been discussed a ridiculous number of times, as well as addressed in video and article format. Flexion and extension generally exacerbate pain of spinal origin because of the repetitive, uneven mashing of the discs. This in contrast to strengthening the back while the spinal column is held in extension.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Bolivar, MO
    Posts
    41

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    Hi Stef, thanks for the reply. I don't remember now the exact words I put in the search box here, so probably explains why I missed it. My main reason for asking was mostly out of curiosity, as they both have helped me through herniated disk and sciatica episodes, and I've been looking for getting a stationary bike for winter time to use on my training off days when the weather is too bad to get out and walk the local trails. That said, I did some more reading and discovered I've been mistakenly thinking the back extension and reverse hyperextension worked the same muscles the same, but now know they don't as the reverse hyper is mostly a glute exercise, so that part of my question I now realize is mostly invalid. And after 2 months on NLP, it's time to cut my deadlifts back to 2 days a week following the Barbell Prescription guidelines for late 50s to early 60s.

    As I said, I was mostly curious to your take as I've seen those in favor and against these two online, and more than a few doctors who recommend deadlifts (if done right). So I was asking to better understand who online is more credible and which ones to ignore.

    I'm also not convinced my mild weekend pain isn't from my squat form either, so finally picked up an adapter to mount my phone on a tripod to video myself so I can see what I'm doing in these two moves.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    44

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    Steve I encourage you to stick with it. My story is similar enough to your own. After years of taking “Vitamin I” I’d had enough and got serious. This site and the blue & grey books are absolutely invaluable. Read, re-read, and read again. If you can find a quality SS Coach, do it.

    I’m now pain free and refuse to go back. A direct result of starting strength method.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Bolivar, MO
    Posts
    41

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    Thanks Tiger, I do plan to stick with the program. I was mostly just curious and didn't have the right combination of words in my search initially, so had to ask. I backed off the heavy lifts Wednesday and Friday, and yesterday had no problem with my deadlifts. In doing so gave me a bit more chance to read up in the books. One thing that was bothering me I believe was I was having trouble with deadlift fatigue, as I've been doing the NLP for two months now without changing up. I'd been trying to get my flexibility up to allow me to start doing cleans, but was unsuccessful as the best I can attain is to "clean" essentially to a press position no matter how much stretching and work I do, it just hurts too much to get to a semi-true clean position. And there was a part of my problem.

    I'd spent so much time in the blue book, I should've started earlier reading the Barbell Prescription book sections on programming, especially for the 50's and 60's crowd. It wasn't until sometime last week I finally got to those sections and noticed that starting cleaning at my age is not only not recommended, it's even cautioned against. So I'd been running the early NLP too long, IOW not doing the program properly. I restarted yesterday, but now am going to sub out Wednesday deadlifts with Lat Pulls and Inverted Rows as recommended in the Prescription book, eventually working up to doing Chin-Ups again, which was one of my main goals when I restarted lifting last year.

    I still bought an exercise bike over the weekend as it's gotten too dark for my 6AM walks on the nearby Frisco Highline trail, so it gives me something to do on my down days rather than just setting around in the morning after having my morning coffee. And I will still do some assistance exercises, but only those which target my weak areas (shoulders, spinal erectors, lats and grip strength) and will supplement in getting the main lifts higher. And even then, only very occasionally and not enough to interfere with the main lifts.

    Thanks again for the encouraging words.

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