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Old 12-07-2007, 02:56 PM   #1
Darren Zega
 
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Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

I really have no clue how to handle this so I figured I'd ask all of you.

I just started working out with a good friend of mine who I've got to drink the kool-aid. He has a minor hunch-back, though. He can stand up almost completely straight but when he bends over he gets some crazy upper spine curvature.

I'm worried that this will make deadlifts and backsquats, among other exercises, unsafe for him. I'd like to think that he'll just need to take it slow and will be able to work up to the same level as anyone else, but I just wanted to ask if anyone out there has ever heard of someone with the same problem and how things went.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:26 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

Pictures would help.

Also, check out the "neanderthal no more" series on T-nation.. probably one of the better series of articles to come out of there. Fixing posture takes a fair bit of time though and the muscles that you're going to be 'stretching' and 'tightening' get really sore. At least that's what I've experienced trying to fix mine.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:06 PM   #3
Corey Duvall
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

You could look up a Rolfer in your area... they work to basically unwind the musculoskeletal system to improve posture and movement.
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:14 PM   #4
Darren Zega
 
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

Steve,

I'll post some photos later tonight so you can see exactly what he looks like. Also, I'm going to have him do a very light CFT with me tonight to start teaching him the three lifts and, If I can scrounge up a decent video recorder I'll post some vids in the digital coaching board.

Corey,

I did some reading on Rolfing, and there are a couple in our area, but my friend has never expressed any pain or discomfort so I'm not sure if that's what he needs immediately. I will however get some more information about what professional consultations he's had and encourage him to call one of them up before we start anything serious. Thanks for the info.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:14 PM   #5
Darren Zega
 
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

Sorry for the delays - had some trouble getting a working camera.


Here's my friend Jim. He's been diagnosed with Sherman's Kyphosis (the technical details from the spinal clinic he went to are thoracic kyphosis from T4-T12 of 68 degrees using Cobb angle measurements).


Unlike most with his condition, he feels no pain when exercising or other load bearing activities. He's a sophomore cadet in Army ROTC and has been medically cleared. He's decently physically active (with a 250 out of 300 on the army's PT test).

Overall I'm worried that if he starts a serious lifting program that he could cause some bad spinal damage.

I started teaching him the lifts in the CFT yesterday - sorry couldn’t get a video camera - and he's doing average for a beginner. He's squats need help in a bad way. His shoulder press seems okay, but again, I'm worried that the shape of his back will improperly load his spine. And his deadlight is barely ok - but I'm still making him do lots of work on his form with all of the lifts before I let him lift anything heavy.


Let me know what you guys think.


The six pictures are him from the side and back showing neutral posture, full extension and full flexion.
http://inlinethumb01.webshots.com/32...500x500Q85.jpg

http://inlinethumb46.webshots.com/34...500x500Q85.jpg

http://inlinethumb09.webshots.com/32...500x500Q85.jpg
(In this photo he's flexing at the hips a bit, not just his back)

Last edited by Darren Zega : 12-10-2007 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:14 PM   #6
Darren Zega
 
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

http://inlinethumb05.webshots.com/32...500x500Q85.jpg

http://inlinethumb15.webshots.com/31...500x500Q85.jpg

http://inlinethumb60.webshots.com/34...500x500Q85.jpg

Last edited by Darren Zega : 12-10-2007 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 12-10-2007, 02:57 PM   #7
William Hunter
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

Unfortunately, Jim does not have an ideal spine for barbell loading. It appears he's got the scoliosis to accompany the Scheuermann's. The back squat, in particular, may not be such a good idea (with sketchy form I'd say it's a serious no no). In fact, I'd go so far as to avoid the CFT for a while, and concentrate on other aspects of CF. Maybe get him to 20+ on Tabata squats? Lots of BW exercises, even some planche and lever work. Jim's posture may change enough with a modified approach that you can work in CFT later. There's such a huge hopper of great movements to focus on in varying schemes and intensities that individual circumstances can be taken into consideration without losing too much CF flavor. There's a movement or two that I never perform anymore.

Remember, this is one guy's conservative viewpoint.

Good luck,

William "Nomoreburpeesinanyshapeorform" Hunter
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:59 PM   #8
Steven Low
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

I agree with William. Serious lifting could do some damage..

Is there anything he is doing for trying to obtain mobility in the thoracic spine (or maybe can he actually do anything to improve it)? I know that the thoracic spine isn't the most flexible/mobile but you should probably try to reduce the curvature some with stretching and potentially hanging. Thoracic traction of some sort might help as well. I'd talk to a PT who specializes in the spine if you can..

The shoulders do exhibit roundedness though which can be fixed by doing rowing type activities more or less. Strengthen the rhomboids/traps and actively pinch the shoulder blades together. Stretch the chest/subscapularis using a wall/door to pull the arms back behind.

Last edited by Steven Low : 12-10-2007 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:42 PM   #9
Darren Zega
 
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Re: Helping train a friend with "unique" back problems

Thanks abunch for all of the advice. I really figured his doctor's suggestion of, "If it doesn't hurt then you should be fine," didn't pass the smell test.

I'll get him going on BW stuff and make the C2 his best friend. I'll also put him on a hardcore stretching routine for his shoulders and hips.

Thanks again.
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