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Herniated Disc


Hello guys,I'm new here,hope u can help me with some advices.Ok...let s begin,I have 23 years old and i've been bodybuilding for 7-8 years.I has back pains a few years ago,but nothing serious to keep me away from the gym.2 months ago i started training the SMOLOV program and after 6 weeks of training i sensed a pain at the bottom of the back,the lumbar area.

I've had this pain years ago there but nothing serious as i said.I continued training one more day,with the pain on and then i felt that the pain reduced my weight on the bar.In the meanwhile my dad had back problems too,and the pain went to one of his legs.He went to make X-rays and i decided to go too.I knew i had someting at my back cause i've been using a lot of weights at specially at Squats(170-190 kg) and deadlifts(till 200kg in good days).

the result was:BEGINING of HERNIATED DISC AT l5-S1.i had this result 3 weeks ago.Ok,then i squated only with 80 kg for more reps,begined front squats and lunges and machines.Now my back pain doesnt exist but,i havent done squats with more than 80-90 kg,no deadlift in one word nothing that puts a pressure on my low back,except SQUATS.

I cant do a leg training without Squats...and i grew my legs with them a lot.My question is,can i Squat with herniated disc wih 80-90 kg?What about Front squats?What about Smith Squats?Which are better for me,and of course saffer?

I dont want to make my legs bigger just to maintain them as ther are.Second question,can Animal Flex "heal" or help my herniated disc in some way?


My guess is that your form on deadlifts and/or squats was not good enough, which created you that problem. I suggest you rehab it so it stops hurtning, then starting over again with good form, to keep the problems away.


the doctor said,i was born with herniated disc.I have it from my father he said...And now,i feeel no pain at all...but i wont squat more than 100 kg,it is ok?Or should i squat on Smith?I dont want to make legs bigger,just to mantain the mass i gainned


Then you are just like me, I was born with a herniated disc, which I got worst since I started sports at age 4. Now, I just put my belt on, do my 500 deadlifts and squats, bench and row my ass off, play soccer and I am just fine. See where I am going? Get your lower back and your abs stronger, and you will be just fine.


I have the disc herniated at L5-S1,the doctor said that the herniation(hope i spelled right) is at beginning...And after 6-7 weekes of Smolov training i felt pain.Can i train abs and my lower back with this herniation?If yes,can u explain the exercises?


Well, I don't think that you couldn't handle the workload of smolov with your injury. So, switch to another programm which doesn't have you squat heavy 3 times per week, something like westside will work like a charm. Make sure you form is spot on on your deadlift and squat.

If you can squat and deadlift painfree, start at those, and gradually increase the weight, while doind heavy standing abs (6-8 range), and hyper extensions in the same rep range. If anything is causing you pain, stop doing it. Also, look into some yoga poses to help with your hip and hamstring flexibility.

When I flared my hearniation, it was because I was pulling like an idiot. I was at the same stage as you, no pain in low weights. I learned proper form, and was pulling really heavy after 3 weeks again. Just make sure that your form is spot on. Uploading videos of your squats and deads would help.


If you believe me,doing the Smolov training helped me learn how to squat proper.But as i said,i was born hernia and probably Smolov "reminded" me that i have it :).i will try to front squat and then back squat and then cables or lunges.I am afraid of back squating and i will begin with front squating.I bought Animal flex,hope it will help me.I front squated 2 days ago with 100 kg(not so much 4 me)and i sensed a leg pain,a very bad one,but the day after i was "healed".I will try to front squat again the next week but i wont go so for with the weights,maybe i will stay at 90 kg and see what's happening.i am afraid of deadlifts and unno if i will train them now,maybe next year.As for squating,i will try to front squat 1st as i said,then back squat with low weights (till 100 kg) or at the Smith machine.Or maybe i will begin legs with machines,and leave the squats at the end to use light weights.What do you thik?


I think you should do what I proposed to you. Start squatting and deadlifting again, with proper form, and everything will be just fine. Start from your 30% and move 5% every week.


ok,thank you very much!


When you say pain, are you referring to pain in the legs? Pain from a herniated disc, impinging on a nerve has a radicular pattern, i.e. radiates to the leg. Axial (i.e confined to the back) pain can be from a degenerative disc with an annular tear. But, even discogenic pain is a controversial topic, i.e. some physicians do not believe it exists. For me, it is mostly a diagnosis of exclusion.

If you MRI 100 people with no pain, 50 of them will have degenerative disease such as a herniated/bulging disc. Herniated discs are very common, even in people with NO pain. That is why clinical symptom must match imaging.

Things to be concerned about would worsening pain/numbness radiating to the leg, weakness in the leg, bowel/bladder incontinence.

Hope that helps.



I trained legs yesterday,feeled very pumped,this is what i did:

  1. 4 sets of front squats-the number of reps 10-12 with max 90 kg and after each set a set o lunges with 5 reps for each leg cause i was exhausted(this two if done in combination)
  2. Back Squat at Smith again 4 sets of 10-12 reps and i putted a bench under me and squated till i reached the bench with my bottom(hope you understand what i am trying to say)
  3. and the last two exercises i worked leg curls,4 sets each,number of reps 15-10

I havent felt any pain and front squats with lunges compensate however the 160 kg squats i did months ago :slightly_smiling:

To beefcakemdphd:No i havent got any leg pain


I don't see how the doctor could determine that you were born with a herniated disc, unless you had imaging of your back done as an infant. Kind of makes me shake my head if the doctor did indeed say that. I'd be more likely to believe that due to poor lifting mechanics, posture, daily activity, etc that the disc started to bulge slightly. The fact that your father had a bulged disc really has no bearing on your back, other than the possibility that you have similar limb length which creates poor levers for certain lifts and places more stress on your back.

Also, did you only receive an XRay or was an MRI taken as well? If just an XRay was given, than AT BEST, the Xray will show decreased disc height which could mean disc degeneration occurring. An xray is not suited to show herniation/bulging of the discs; that's what a MRI is for.

x2 for what beefcake said. Disc bulge results on imaging doesn't mean anything unless symptoms are following. And as of right now, you are saying you don't have any low back pain nor any referral leg pain, and the only time you seem to have the pain is when the load is higher during squats, which IMO, shows that your body is not ready to handle those higher loads (mobility issue, stability issue, technique issue, etc), which may or may not also be impacted by some disc degeneration.


Hi little buddy,

I dont think animal flex will "fix" your bulging disc. I think you would be probably be better off spending your money on a good fish oil.

I hope you can overcame this setback, and lift heavy for life!



I took only Xrays but in January i want to make a MRI.So,is it possible that on Xray to have a herniated disc and on MRi to have nothing?3 Weeks ago,when i had the back pains,also my right leg was in pain,expecially when i walked a lot.but the pain on the leg,lasted 1-2 days,now i have no pain at all only at the lower back "bothers" me sometimes but nothing serios...


One more question guys:Squats at Smith machine ar more safe for my back than regular Squats?


Taken at separate time points - yes a disc herniation can resolve, most usually do. But as Levelheaded has pointed out, the xrays do not delineate herniated discs.

I don't think the smith machine is necessarily 'safer' for your back.



but what about if,i put a bench at smith machine where i squat till my bottom is on the bench,then i go up and so on.Would this be better for my back?


I'm not a fan of smith machines personally - just doesn't give a good line of movement for what a true squat pattern should be. Also, you either A) have your feet under the bar and it forces you to flex too much at the hips/low back to get proper depth or B) your feet are farther out in front of you and you don't flex too much at the hips/low back, but you lack full hip extension at the concentric portion of the lift.

Also, using a bench isn't always going to be safer for your back. If you slam down onto the bench then you are creating axial loading from both ends by having the bar on your shoulders and from hitting the bench. Also, I've seen many people who when performing box squats to a bench, allow their lumbar spine to flex when "sitting" on the bench. If you are doing a light touch and go approach to the bench, I don't see it being an issue, but it doesn't necessarily make it "safer" than a squat without the bench there. All it does is make sure you are getting a consistent depth to your squat.


in conclusion,where can i Squat?:frowning:


Boxing,can affect my so called herniated disc?