T Nation

Advice With Hyper Mobility & Spine


#1

Hi, I exercised through my life ( I'm now 30 ) mostly martial arts, karate (5 years), judo (2 years) and Wing Chun (11 years) in that order.
In karate I was very good at kicks being very mobile and flexible, all my activities needed flexibility.

Lately in Wing Chun I did not splits any more, however I was still very flexible and more 'fluent' in movements (to the point that I had problems with some techniques).

Finally, I started to have problems with it, especially with my spine. When I kicked/punched with power and rotation nothing somehow stopped me (muscles/ligaments/lack of technique) and I ended with back pain more and more often. I was able to move my vertebras in lumbar area around with small effort.

So finally I had to stop, I ended in hospital for one week, unable to move with lower back pain.
Every doctor advice was different (do nothing, do not bend, do not twist...punches ? rotation ? no way...). It lasted one year, no difference, more pain.

So f**k off, I will do exactly opposite, I'm 30 years old and I want to do some more in my life.
So I study and investigate. And study even more. I decided I need to become more stiffen/toughen 'a little bit'.

Through kettlebells->old strongmen materials->heavy lifts->dino stuff->powerlifting I read about building and training muscles (isn't Internet great invention ?) with something more than calistethics and bodyweight stuff. I stopped stretching completely (except some back extensions and light warmups).

About year ago with back pain (when nothing else helped) I started deadlifts, military presses, squats, bench presses, weighted dips/chin-ups...usual stuff :o). Just free weights, no machines.

I became much stronger and build some muscles. It helped, helped a lot. In March I wasn't able to move/sit/stand without pain, in November I deadlifted 100 kg. A little for some for me a first price. No back pain any more. Wow, I felt like a winner.

However I started to have pain again, my posture somehow changed. My hip-flexors and muscles along spine become much more tight and my be my abs are weaker than back extensors (though I've never in my life have better abs). I changed rutines, get a free weeks, get planned changes in rep/sets, but mostly 5x5 stuff.

So I started to stretch a little. Again. And I moved my lumbar vertebra with very, very little effort in rotation movement. Again... And more pain came.

So may be I'm just impatient but I somehow failed to fix my loose ligaments along spine ? Should I stretch or should not ? Am I able to fix it ?
As I understand it, If my ligaments are weak along the spine (from mucho stretching I did) I need to support them with more muscles and help them to become tough again in ordere to prevent excessive movement of vertebras.However, I obviously suffered from muscle inbalances and at the some time failed to fix my hypermobility in spine.

For those who were able to read till this line now thanks :o)

For those with any kind of advice, different excercises, stretching tips etc. (no surgery please...) thanks in advance.

Petr R.


#2

Hi Petr,

I'd highly suggest you investigate self-myofascial release with a foam roller, or get help from a physical therapist trained in myofascial release.

Furthermore, I'd recommend embarking on some more advanced core training, because that could be the root of the problem. The core stabilizes the spine, so it's only natural for you to have problems if the core is weak/uncoordinated.

Although squats and military presses work the core, if you already have problems they will not correct them, you have to find the problem at the source.

  1. Start with the basics, such as isometric pike holds, push-ups with rotations, various push-ups on a swiss ball, learn to use your core properly (which doesn't mean pulling the stomach in)

  2. Integrate single leg squats and exercises that require balance into your program. All forms of lunges and step-ups require good balance.

  3. Move to more advanced core exercises, such as overhead squats (which can literally tell you any flexibility issues or compensations right off the bat). Also, olympic lifts like the snatch and clean and jerk can be used to program your body to move as one unit.

  4. Integrate rotation exercises such as woodchops, and flexion exercises such as swiss ball roll-outs. Also, the classic side press is excellent for developing core stabilization.

Notice I didn't recommend directly targetting the spinal erectors. First of all, they will get hit enough with deadlifts and all other conventional exercises. Second of all, chances are it has nothing to do with the spine, it's just that the spine is compensating and has to work harder because of a lack of core stability. The body works that way.

Check out the "Fixing the flaws" articles:

www.charlespoliquin.com/articles/training.php

There are also a number of articles on T-Nation regarding the subject:

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=282core2

Good luck!


#3

Thanks a lot or kind advice. Strange is, that I do have much stronger core that I used to had.
Anyway, I will investigate.