T Nation

5/3/1 with Herniated Disc


#1

hello guys!

5 yrs ago i herniated disk l5/s1. I have been lifting for three yrs, the last year i incorporated more of the squats and deadlifts. I havent had major issues, although occasionally the disc would flare up and hurt.

A month ago i started 5/3/1 routine. After my last leg session i experienced more pain than usual and its been really bad for the past 5-6 days.

I have really been enjoying strength program like 5/3/1 and wouldnt like to stop it. Can i do 5/3/1 somewhat modified, replacing DL and squats?

Really desperate for help!

Cheers!


#2

fix whatever issue is causing the back pain


#3

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
fix whatever issue is causing the back pain[/quote]

You cant fixed ruptured disc. Its for life:(


#4

I had this issue (L5 / S1 prolapse) and did not SQ or DL for about 12years! (I wouldn’t reccomend this long off) I did, however train the abs & low back with the intention ofstabilising the area. I began very light BB rows and made slow progress eventually I realised as I wasn’t getting any problems associated with lifting and I was BB rowing 300+ lb I should be fine deadlifting it. I tried it for a couple of sets of 3, back hurt the day after.

I decided to try even lower weight and fit in with the ‘start too light’ ethos of 5/3/1. I began (Sept 2009) with a training max of 145 kg, using 122.5kg and getting 13 reps not using a belt and getting extremely short of breath! Anyway I added 5kg per cyle for about a year and then dropped to adding 2.5kg before my first reset at about 18 months in.

You can strengthen the supporting structures and minimise pain by avoiding actions which aggravate the condition (i.e. forward flexion of the lower back). I also foun that the Squat was the lift most likely to cause pain, front squat was much less likely to cause pain (but I hate it with a vengence!) but I did find that a safety squat bar helped enormously allowing me to train a similar movement and then do ‘normal’ squats for short periods (pre injury I had a 230kg SQ in competition) and built up to a fairly easy 160kg normal squat last year.

Yes you can substitute exercises in 5/3/1 but ensure you are doing the SQ & DL correctly before you ditch one or both. Try front SQ or try a safety squat bar, maybe try a shrug bar or front squat harness. Be creative, adaptable and never give in!


#5

Thanks so much for such an informative repply!

WhAt do you think is the best replacement for sq and dl in 5/3/1 so it doesnt loose its good reputation as an awesome strength building routi e?

[quote]Boffin wrote:
I had this issue (L5 / S1 prolapse) and did not SQ or DL for about 12years! (I wouldn’t reccomend this long off) I did, however train the abs & low back with the intention ofstabilising the area. I began very light BB rows and made slow progress eventually I realised as I wasn’t getting any problems associated with lifting and I was BB rowing 300+ lb I should be fine deadlifting it. I tried it for a couple of sets of 3, back hurt the day after.

I decided to try even lower weight and fit in with the ‘start too light’ ethos of 5/3/1. I began (Sept 2009) with a training max of 145 kg, using 122.5kg and getting 13 reps not using a belt and getting extremely short of breath! Anyway I added 5kg per cyle for about a year and then dropped to adding 2.5kg before my first reset at about 18 months in.

You can strengthen the supporting structures and minimise pain by avoiding actions which aggravate the condition (i.e. forward flexion of the lower back). I also foun that the Squat was the lift most likely to cause pain, front squat was much less likely to cause pain (but I hate it with a vengence!) but I did find that a safety squat bar helped enormously allowing me to train a similar movement and then do ‘normal’ squats for short periods (pre injury I had a 230kg SQ in competition) and built up to a fairly easy 160kg normal squat last year.

Yes you can substitute exercises in 5/3/1 but ensure you are doing the SQ & DL correctly before you ditch one or both. Try front SQ or try a safety squat bar, maybe try a shrug bar or front squat harness. Be creative, adaptable and never give in![/quote]


#6

Try front SQ or try a safety squat bar for squat
Try trap bar DL or DL off blocks or DL with accomodating resistance (chains or bands)


#7

[quote]Boffin wrote:
Try front SQ or try a safety squat bar for squat
Try trap bar DL or DL off blocks or DL with accomodating resistance (chains or bands)[/quote]

Thanks mate! I really appreciate advice from someone who experienced the same problem, and someone so devoted to training. So many years of training, respect!

Just wanted to know if u were still able to make good progress in the gym during the time when i did no squating and deadlifting? Wannted to know this just in case i cant do any of the exercises that u mentioned as substitutes, in case they give me pain.


#8

sorry for the late reply!!!
Yes I made progress (I’d never o/h pressed seriously) and managed to sort out, to a large extent, shoulder issues by balancing pulling with more sets than pushing.
DL went to 185kg x 5 reps (a 1+ day) but soon after I developed Atrial Fibrilation- not because of training! I also did a 205 single about the same time, june 2011.


#9

Flip a safety squat bar around and front squat if you can’t handle a clean rack postion and train your core like a monster but it a way that won’t irritate your back. The front squat uses a ton of core to stabilize and from my experience very little back if kept tight. Just don’t round over and go light as you learn the lift.

Edit: just noticed boffi already clued you into front squats. They pretty much changed my life and lifting career. I currently front squat every day I’m in the gym then do my normal program. You don’t have to go super heavy every day I work up to a 405 single front squat then call it a day gets my body warm and primed for whatever I plan to do. Since it hits nearly everything blow is flowing and I’m good to go.