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Leg Exercises for Bulging Disc

Hey everyone,

I would really like some help on this issue. After a recent CT scan, a bulging disc was discovered between my l4-l5 vertabrae. I’ve been ‘injured’ almost 10 monthes now - still training in the gym. doing everything i can . The back pains come and go, especially around morning (after getting up, my back is quite stiff and painful) and also usually after leg workouts.

I can’t really squat (front ,back or on a 45 degree machine). The leg press too, is probably causing some tension and can’t do that either. Leg curls can’t be done cuz i feel my back curl every time and it hurts really bad.
So basically, the two last exercises i can do for legs are leg extensions for my quads, and another hamstrings exercise (lying down under a smith machine and pushing the bar - upside down squat? i dunno how it’s called but it seems to have no pressure on my back if i go only 3/4 the way down)

I work my abdominals every other day and do a bit of lower back exercises every 3 days (to let my back have enough rest before i attempt to strengthen in).

Besides recommendations for any leg exercises which could be good for me. Anybody think of any exercises revolving other bodyparts which i should avoid?

when i herniated my disk, i switched to dumbbell lunges for a while.

[quote]dayaneyal wrote:
Hey everyone,

I would really like some help on this issue. After a recent CT scan, a bulging disc was discovered between my l4-l5 vertabrae. I’ve been ‘injured’ almost 10 monthes now - still training in the gym. doing everything i can . The back pains come and go, especially around morning (after getting up, my back is quite stiff and painful) and also usually after leg workouts.

I can’t really squat (front ,back or on a 45 degree machine). The leg press too, is probably causing some tension and can’t do that either. Leg curls can’t be done cuz i feel my back curl every time and it hurts really bad.
So basically, the two last exercises i can do for legs are leg extensions for my quads, and another hamstrings exercise (lying down under a smith machine and pushing the bar - upside down squat? i dunno how it’s called but it seems to have no pressure on my back if i go only 3/4 the way down)

I work my abdominals every other day and do a bit of lower back exercises every 3 days (to let my back have enough rest before i attempt to strengthen in).

Besides recommendations for any leg exercises which could be good for me. Anybody think of any exercises revolving other bodyparts which i should avoid?

[/quote]

I have a bulging disc. I’ve worked around it with dumbbell lunges, leg press (but only press with 1 leg), front squats, and overhead squats. I’m not a big fan of leg extensions, due to the torque on the knee.

Hope this helps. Do what you can, listen to your body and take it gradually.

1 Like

how do you fix a bulging disc? im curious because i know i have a disc problem around my l5 area, im just not sure what exactly the problem is until we do the bone scan and mri next week

Thanks for the posts everyone.
Can I consist a leg exercise program of only dumbell lunges (done while standing and not walking), overhead squats, and leg extensions?

BTW, how come overhead squats don’t apply much stress on the lower back? and if they do apply - can it be avoided if you don’t let the bar go all the way down?

BTW skimmy- my doctor told me that a bulging disc with the right amount of rest and discontinuation of further pressure on lower back - will heal eventually - the disc returns to place and scar tissue develops around it.
The only problem is, if you don’t let it heal fully - it can herniate - and then it won’t ever heal as well as it could have with just the bulging bit.

Bulging disc guy here, only leg work I can do is split squats, lunges, step ups, 1-leg deadlifts and variations (all with db) .

Also, I’ve started sprinting again with no pain in the back. Been doing it over a month and my calves look good!

[quote]half-life wrote:
Bulging disc guy here, only leg work I can do is split squats, lunges, step ups, 1-leg deadlifts and variations (all with db) .

Also, I’ve started sprinting again with no pain in the back. Been doing it over a month and my calves look good![/quote]

Hey half-life,
What are split squats?
Do you do your lunges static?
or walking?
How do you do 1-leg deadlifts?

[quote]half-life wrote:
Bulging disc guy here, only leg work I can do is split squats, lunges, step ups, 1-leg deadlifts and variations (all with db).[/quote]

Those are all great exercises!

Another one to consider is the Bulgarian split deadlift.

[quote]Hey half-life,
What are split squats?
Do you do your lunges static?
or walking?
How do you do 1-leg deadlifts?

[/quote]

Split squats (Bulgarian split squats) are done with dumbbells. Stand with your back to a flat bench, about 2-3 feet away. Put one foot back, flexed, with your shoelaces on the bench. Your other foot should be forward. Keeping your torso straight up and down, dip down with your forward leg and back up. Do a set on one leg then switch legs.

Single leg deadlifts are basically done with a variation of the following: Starting from a standing position, keep one leg on the ground, slightly flexed. The other leg keep in line with your torso as you bend forward.

Ideally at the end of the movement, yoour torso and back leg are both parallel to the ground, while your other leg is semi perpendicular (it’s OK to bend the support leg). Use dumbbells for resistance.

I’m in a similar situation.

Don’t lift any weight until it’s healed. If you’re not lying down flat, don’t lift weights.
Don’t overhead squat.

Do 1-leg exercises. 1-leg squat, 1-leg presses, and so on. For the 1-leg squat, depending on how heavy and strong you are, you may not need any additional weight, or at most a dumbbell in one hand. I’m thinking to try Waterbury’s method and do 1-leg squats fast, with no additional weight.
Even so, I feel 1-leg deadlifts are a bit too risky. Maybe I’m chicken, but I’d rather heal up fast and get right back to normal.

Then use the machines a lot, if it’s not painful. Leg extensions, whatever.

I quit working the abs too. I just don’t want any strain on my lower back for a while.

Don’t do anything that causes pain. Pain means Don’t Do It.

My doctor told me to grab the chin-up bar and just hang there a couple minutes or so, and relax. This will help the disc “sneak” back in place.
At home, you can grab the top edge of a door and just hang there flat for a while. I do that several times a day. Put a pair of socks between your hands and the door if the edge is too sharp.

I did all these things and was pain free in a couple of weeks. Yesterday I did seated triceps extensions like a moron with 130lb and it hurt a little bit. But it’s already better today.

Keep in mind: it will take a few months at least before you’ll be able to lift heavy while standing up.

get a inversion table and hang upside down a few min. a day , it helped me

[quote]dayaneyal wrote:
Hey half-life,
What are split squats?
Do you do your lunges static?
or walking?
How do you do 1-leg deadlifts?

[/quote]

Orange explained the splits and 1-leg dl. When I first injured my back I could only do static lunges. With walking lunges, it was hard for me to keep my core tight (tight hips) and not overarch my lower back which caused pain.

Right now I’m sticking with split squats and 1-leg dl variations. Maybe I’ll try the walking lunges again and see how it goes.

[quote]florin wrote:
I’m in a similar situation.

Don’t lift any weight until it’s healed. If you’re not lying down flat, don’t lift weights.
Don’t overhead squat.

Do 1-leg exercises. 1-leg squat, 1-leg presses, and so on. For the 1-leg squat, depending on how heavy and strong you are, you may not need any additional weight, or at most a dumbbell in one hand. I’m thinking to try Waterbury’s method and do 1-leg squats fast, with no additional weight.
Even so, I feel 1-leg deadlifts are a bit too risky. Maybe I’m chicken, but I’d rather heal up fast and get right back to normal.

Then use the machines a lot, if it’s not painful. Leg extensions, whatever.

I quit working the abs too. I just don’t want any strain on my lower back for a while.

Don’t do anything that causes pain. Pain means Don’t Do It.

My doctor told me to grab the chin-up bar and just hang there a couple minutes or so, and relax. This will help the disc “sneak” back in place.
At home, you can grab the top edge of a door and just hang there flat for a while. I do that several times a day. Put a pair of socks between your hands and the door if the edge is too sharp.

I did all these things and was pain free in a couple of weeks. Yesterday I did seated triceps extensions like a moron with 130lb and it hurt a little bit. But it’s already better today.

Keep in mind: it will take a few months at least before you’ll be able to lift heavy while standing up.[/quote]

First of all thanks to everybody for the replies. I’m finding out there are still ways for me to exercise legs, cuz all of these were unknown to me.

The 1 leg squat / split squat is definitly something i’m going to try with weights. the 1 leg deadlift seems like an exercise which demands a lot of balance and it also puts some pressure on your knee but it seems very useful without any weights.

The streching bit is great and i’ve heard of it before on a website, somebody called this technique : ‘to deload’ - hanging from a door or by pushing yourself with your hands by your sides from a chair, letting your spine hang down - causing the vertrabrae to spread and helping the disc to mobilize itself inward. I’m going to do this a few times each day and before every workout.

Regarding your post florin, all the other exercises which i use to target other bodyparts have been adjusted to minimizing back pressure to almost zero.

But there are a few that i’m not sure about: Cable crossovers for instance (either for upper chest/ side laterals for shoulders)Do you guys think this is an exercise to avoid (although both are done with relatively low weight.)?

I’ve already switched the cable side laterals to one-arm lying down dumbell raises for each shoulder + one cable side lateral at a time (to reduce the pressure on the back when working both of them at the same time).

Regarding biceps exercises - all are done with precher bench - either hammers or just regular curls.

Regarding another shoulder exercise - dumbell presses are done with a bench at 60 degrees angle and a raised chair +another bench to set my legs on so i can make sure my back is exactly glued to the bench.

So if you guys think this is okay, please tell me.

Thanks.

Belt squats.
put on a dip belt, take two benches, one foot on each, the weight hanging from your hips between the benches, squat.

[quote]dayaneyal wrote:
But there are a few that i’m not sure about: Cable crossovers for instance (either for upper chest/ side laterals for shoulders)Do you guys think this is an exercise to avoid (although both are done with relatively low weight.)?[/quote]

It’s easy to find out - if the force on the spine is upwards, do it. If it’s downwards, don’t do it.

As far as shoulders, I’m just doing lateral raises with perfect form. It’s impossible to move too much weight, so it’s safe.

Realize that this is a serious injury and some sacrifices must be made until your back to 100%.

Rather be conservative now, than in a wheelchair later.