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Deadlifts and Other Core Exercises for a Jacked Up/Bad Back?

Hey all, Im 43 and been hitting it hard for a year and half. I’m 6’3" and 265lbs.
I’ve been doing everything BUT deadlifts and heavy squats. I have degenerating discs and sciatica problems. My back will go out if I pick up something off the floor.
I’m beginning to think there should be an alternative to deads with similar results and I’m also wondering if any of you have started out real slow (super light weight) and ultimately strengthened your back enough to do these lifts with no problems. All a doctor wants to do is lay you up in bed on drugs and or operate. I’m not down with that.
Thanks for any advice I can get. If more info is needed, just ask.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have only minor back problems in my life, so I can’t advise you on the best course of action. I can help you clarify your goals, however, which might help get you better advice.

In the thread title you seem to indicate you want a jacked back. There’s nothing wrong with that. In your post you seem to aspire to eventually perform heavy spinal loading movements. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. I’m simply encouraging you to think about what you really want. A jacked back? A body that performs heavy deadlifts? Or both?

Plenty of impressive backs have been built without heavy deadlifts, but it seems rather obvious that deadlifting impressive weights will require heavy deadlifts to be performed at some point.

Just some food for thought.

Hey thanks for the reply. I apologize for the miscommunication. I meant that I needed advice for deads and core movements for a damaged back. As in Jacked up back. ZI’ll see if I can edit the header.

Maybe look into kettlebell swings as a starter, read on another site about using swings (and the progressions to a proper swing) to rehab some pretty damaged backs. I don’t think I can post the link here but if you search for it, I’m sure it’ll come up. In fact, if you find that article,there’s another article on the same site about using sumo deadlifts to rehab back injuries. I can’t really vouch for either (not scientifically anyway) but I have used swings as a way to start working my lower back after an injury somewhat recently.

My two cents:

You might want to check with another doctor. I have scoliosis and grew up weak and thin. Years ago went to an orthopedic doctor who put me on a set of rehab exercises. They helped strengthen my core and gave me a good start on a strong back.

However, I haven’t had degenerating discs. Does the doc know what’s causing that? Is there any way to address it other than painkillers?

The fact that you’re overweight suggests 1: you already have a big load on your spine 2: diet probably is out of whack. My suggestion is to get your food under control. Keep protein up and carbs moderate. Shed some pounds, you’ll feel way better.

If your spine stays the way it is, then there are options other than deads. Lat pulldowns, hyperextensions, rows, reverse hypers don’t put the same stresses on the back as deads. Try and find a doc who knows sports medicine to figure out what will work.

You need to be extremely careful so as to not aggravate your back. I have a flexion intolerant back myself. You can still however workout provided you understand and follow rules to keep your spine neutral and stable.

There is a lot of complexity related to this. I am not an expert but I was lucky enough to find a Trainer who was very knowledgeable on Lower Back issue mechanics.

good luck

Haivng had back issues in my 30s I was always super scared of anything that remotely felt painful in my lower back and avoided back work for a long time.

In the last couple of years I figured out that I need to strengthen my back rather than avoid training it. I started off with very light deadlifts, rows and other back work. Slowly over time I built up my stength and I can now deadlift respectable weight and have discovered hyperextensions. My lower back is allot stronger now and I can lift up my 40kgs of children without too much worry that I will be spending the next 3 weeks in traction. :slight_smile: