A lot of people want to know exactly what I am doing currently for my back pain. In reality it really depends on the condition of my back at the time. I just got through a pretty nasty flare up and have been 100% pain free for almost a week now. Praise God! There are two different ways I train my core and it all comes down to what my back is telling me…let me explain.
I sent out an email to my private subscribers last week that went into detail about what I had been going through (if your not on this list yet then you’re really missing out (Get on it here). I had a pretty bad flare up and spent the week working on some of the areas that were giving me some issues. I got to thinking about how I was focusing on my core with my training during my flare up vs before I was having any pain. There is a significant difference and I really wanted you guys to be able to see this and apply to your own recovery regimen.
The big difference between my core training program during flare ups vs pain free is pretty simple yet it really makes a difference in my recovery speed. My goal during flare ups is to keep any shear stress, twisting or uneven loading down to a minimum if any at all. I also pay close attention to my level of core fatigue. To me this is one of the most important points. As I near the end of each set I really try to pay close attention to my form and whether or not I am able to maintain a neutral spine, breathe properly and being sure to stop before reaching true failure. When training the core to be able to stabilize the spine, you really need to pay attention to detail. Once your spine breaks the neutral position, your no longer training your core in a positive way. To really get the most out of your training you need to start and finish in a solid stabilized position. What you don’t want to do is start in a good position and end looking like something out of a circus soleile show. Always finish the same way you started.
How I train my core when I am feeling little to no pain: 85%-100% pain free
This is where the difference comes in. When I’m feeling great I’ll tend to push these limits and really try to challenge myself with the time I am able to hold the specific position. At the end of the day if your not challenging yourself then you’re not going to get better. I am still following my strict regimen of deep full breaths and a neutral spine but I am more likely to add in uneven training as well. Perfect example of this is an uneven or over head farmers carry. As long as I am able to do this pain free and maintain a tight and neutral spine I am all over these. The second I start to feel any discomfort in my lower back I pull the plug. Because of my disc being degenerative, I want to be super careful when it comes to loading that area and causing those vertebra to slide around. It’s the stabilizers in that area that really keep the vertebra in line but once those have been compromised I don’t want to put any more stress on that disc then I have to. As you progress, you will learn to read your cores fatigue level. When your fresh, you should be able to contract and notice that contraction all the way down into your lower belly button area. It will be a deep contraction that wraps around your entire midsection. As you fatigue, you will notice yourself starting to take short “contraction breaks” or lose control of areas such as your lower stomach and sides and only focus on your front ab section. All your doing is turning your core off and on while doing the same exercise. It’s a common thing to do when endurance levels in your core start to run thin. The point to your training is to bring all areas of the core to an even playing field so they have an even length of endurance.
“During these times of higher pain, you don’t want to push the envelop with time or more challenging movements. Instead of trying to beat your last time or add in extra reps, focus on starting and finishing strong”
How I train my core when I am 80% or lower on my pain free meter.
When your dealing with mild to severe acute or chronic pain you don’t want the same mentality you had when you had little to no pain. During these higher pain cycles, perfection is what you are looking for. Everything from the way you get down on the ground to the way you are getting out of the position and back on your feet to move around. All these subtle moves make a difference and if your dealing with some inflammation or muscles spasms you can’t afford to prolong the healing process any longer than it already takes. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that you should always be mindful of the way you move around whether pain free or not but I don’t believe in bed rest when it comes to back pain so your only options are to get out and move.
During these times of higher pain, you don’t want to push the envelop with time or more challenging movements. Instead of trying to beat your last time or add in extra reps, focus on starting and finishing strong. This means you should be able to come out of the exercise set with some “gas still left in the tank”. You want to stay far away from the “collapsing finish” most end up doing this at the end of an exercise like the plank. For most, this is challenging because we want to push ourselves and get that feeling of fatigue but that fatigue can have a negative impact on the inflamed area. You can still get a great workout in, just design your workout to have shorter time under tension or less reps. Focus on deep breathing, a strong contraction and maintaining a neutral spine or good form from start to finish.
What I am currently doing myself:
Stir the Pots: 3 x 10 (Five in one direction and 5 in the opposite)
Leg Drops: 3 x 12-15 or until I can’t keep my lower back flat on the floor.
Front Plank: 2 x 45 seconds: squeezing everything from my butt to my abs while maintaing deep full breaths
Side Planks: 2 x 45 seconds: squeezing everything from my butt to my abs while maintaing deep full breaths
I try to do this workout 3 days a week and only do Stir The Pots on days that I am off.
Do any of these exercises hurt your back when doing them? Let me know in the comments below and I will give you a different variation!
Thanks so much for reading guys!
If this helped you in any way and you think others could find relief from their back pain too it would mean the world to me if you shared it! Spread the relief!