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Jonathan Kessler 10-10-2004 11:15 AM

I have read a couple of great and amazing threads on low back rehab through CF training (and especially the "forbidden exercises", e.g. DL's and squats, as well as KB swings). David Werner, Lynne Pitts posts, among many others, are very inspiring.
My question is - how long after a low back flare-up would you wait before starting DL's and squats?
My low back history goes back about 20 years (I'm 43). I haven't had it x-rayed (at least not for a long time), kind of don't want to know. In the past 10 years, after starting to do regular hyperextensions as well as lots of abs and stretching, my low back has been pretty darn stable. However, after starting to do CF I started to do DL's, got too enthusiastic, and had a real lumbar blowout. I don't blame the DL's, just myself - too many reps, , pushed too hard, let my form go. I've recovered from that, and I've been doing bodyweight squats to build things up more, I figure I'll get back to DL's with very light weight and good coaching soon.
However, this week I'm having a flare-up - not a "can't get up off the ground", more a "gee, this hurts and I'd better not make a wrong move" kind of flare-up. I'm thinking that once I get the pain back down and am feeling stable I should start light DL's and bodyweight squats again, but am wondering how long I should wait before I do so? I know there's a lot of experience on this board with rehabbinb this kind of injury, and I appreciate your input.

David Werner 10-10-2004 01:20 PM


Thank you for the kind words. I still routinely do this to myself, it's tough to walk the fine line between challenging your body enough to force adaptation and overdoing it.

You have to do two conflicting things, get moving as soon as you can - and let the accute phase of your injury heal. So far it sounds like you are doing it just right, but make sure that you are getting enough sleep and go back to the hyper-extensions if you've gotten away from them. The coaching is a must. And those of us with "issues" have to be very conservative about adding weight. The time to start back with weighted Deads and Squats is when they don't cause "too much" pain (highly subjective - you'll have to teach yourself).

The real key here is patience and persistence, everytime this happens treat it as a learning experience and get better at noticing the warning signs. Eventually you will have technique that many will envy, they just won't realize what it cost you to achieve.

Good Luck
Dave Werner
Crossfit North

Michael Keller 10-10-2004 02:55 PM

With a little inspiration from David (thanks David!), I added DL's to my workout 3 weeks ago. I have two degenerated discs in my low back, but so far I have had no problems at all from doing the DL's and my back seems to be getting stronger. Like you, I have to pace myself and take it easy some days, but I am really beginning to believe it is possible to improve my "issues". One thing that I have that you might want to try is an inversion table. It seems to help tremendously when I get that "tight" feeling in my back. I'm doing 180 lbs. DL's for 4 sets after a warm-up set with no problems (bodyweight of 185). I think I'll probably try and stay there for a couple of more weeks before moving up in weight--I feel like I can go more, but don't want to push it yet. Sounds like you are on the right track, so keep up the good work!

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