T Nation

5/3/1 for Someone with Spine Surgery


Hey all,

I was doing 5/3/1 a few years ago but sustained a significant, yet unrelated, injury to my spine which required full blown surgery to remove disc in between C7/C6. Then stabilize it all with bone from hip and titanium screws/pins.

I have been cleared and back at work for a couple years now. I am wanting to get back to 5/3/1 but hesitant to get back up to heavier weight. I was told by the docs that there is a greater likelihood of other discs being affected due to my injury.

My question is this: opinions on 5/3/1 for someone in my situation? Is there a modified version I could/should do? Or something else entirely?

My goals are strength, flexibility, a lil bit of endurance. I’m not worried about being big, setting records, or anything like that. Fucntionally strong.

Thanks in advance.


Everybody is going to be different and nobody can really give you too much advice on such matters. I have a significant back injury and it took a while to find the lifts I can do without hurting myself. My advice is to start slow and really, really light. Find the lifts that don’t bother your back and stick to those. I cannot pull from the floor, EVER. If I pull even light weights off the floor I’m laid up for weeks. But I can pull heavy from mid shin without any issues, so I do a lot of rack pulls instead. Also, Heavy Prowler can work your legs with very minimal back involvement. I always resort back to the Prowler if I have any issues. Good luck on finding your way.