T Nation

Lower Body Strength, No Weights

Ahem…

So I’ve been lifting for six months.

I got a spinal injury (Spondylolisthesis)(big word, huh?) and long story short my barbell days are over.

So I have my upper body sorted in terms of strength training using my bodyweight and gymnastic holds and stuff.

But what about my legs? What do with my legs and lower back?

What’s the injury in layman’s terms… sorry not a doctor

I’m no expert at all but here are my thoughts:

As you have only been lifting for 6 months I think you can probably make a lot of progress without a barbell.

For lower back I’d say high rep reverse hypers are a great choice.

For glutes and hamstrings you can do single-leg glute raises.

For quads you can do split squats or lunges.

I don’t know if your condition will allow you to do kettlebell swings or not? I know I have a dodgy back but swings are fine for me. If you can do them they are great for your whole posterior chain.

If you use a really slow and controlled tempo (apart from for the swings obviously) I find most of these exercises hard enough without adding external load. Splits squats and lunges you’ll probably need to load though, but it will be a lot lighter than for squats etc so it might be fine for you.

[quote]furo wrote:
I’m no expert at all but here are my thoughts:

As you have only been lifting for 6 months I think you can probably make a lot of progress without a barbell.

For lower back I’d say high rep reverse hypers are a great choice.

For glutes and hamstrings you can do single-leg glute raises.

For quads you can do split squats or lunges.

I don’t know if your condition will allow you to do kettlebell swings or not? I know I have a dodgy back but swings are fine for me. If you can do them they are great for your whole posterior chain.

If you use a really slow and controlled tempo (apart from for the swings obviously) I find most of these exercises hard enough without adding external load. Splits squats and lunges you’ll probably need to load though, but it will be a lot lighter than for squats etc so it might be fine for you.
[/quote]

These are some good choices.

I was suggest you get some top notch physical therapy/talk to some specialists. They know what they’re doing better than we do.

I did and I am talking to some more specialists even but…

In the meanwhile I still want to get stronger.

Been out of the gym for a month now, way too much sitting around for me.

The injury is basically a break in the vertebra which makes them slip.

This slip gets bigger once I do strenuous shit.

I thought high rep stuff didn’t build strength, right?

Will sprinting intervals or something make me stronger?

[quote]MisterT wrote:
I did and I am talking to some more specialists even but…

In the meanwhile I still want to get stronger.

Been out of the gym for a month now, way too much sitting around for me.

The injury is basically a break in the vertebra which makes them slip.

This slip gets bigger once I do strenuous shit.

I thought high rep stuff didn’t build strength, right?

Will sprinting intervals or something make me stronger?[/quote]

High rep stuff still builds strength, just not quite as efficiently as low rep stuff. But high rep is much less likely to screw up your back. So you have to weigh that up yourself. I’d recommend avoiding injury as much as possible.

Sprinting is similar I guess, but its even higher rep.

[quote]MisterT wrote:
I got a spinal injury (Spondylolisthesis)(big word, huh?) and long story short my barbell days are over.
[/quote]

Do you WANT them to be over? Because you seem very quick to give up. I’m not going to advise you to do or not do anything, but all I’m saying is that many, many people have suffered from spondylolisthesis and gone on to squat and deadlift. I would think on your concession a little more.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]MisterT wrote:
I got a spinal injury (Spondylolisthesis)(big word, huh?) and long story short my barbell days are over.
[/quote]

Do you WANT them to be over? Because you seem very quick to give up. I’m not going to advise you to do or not do anything, but all I’m saying is that many, many people have suffered from spondylolisthesis and gone on to squat and deadlift. I would think on your concession a little more.[/quote]

I don’t know it’s what the doctors said.

And my back hurts when I squat, too.

I don’t want them to be over. I’ve also been into martial arts for some 4 years and I can’t do that anymore either.

Bummer, you know?

This calls for a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU0BzZlwU4o&list=LLVZZIFIQwMPDrhJ_yucA8jw&feature=mh_lolz

I know its a different situation but, ya know…

[quote]MisterT wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]MisterT wrote:
I got a spinal injury (Spondylolisthesis)(big word, huh?) and long story short my barbell days are over.
[/quote]

Do you WANT them to be over? Because you seem very quick to give up. I’m not going to advise you to do or not do anything, but all I’m saying is that many, many people have suffered from spondylolisthesis and gone on to squat and deadlift. I would think on your concession a little more.[/quote]

I don’t know it’s what the doctors said.

And my back hurts when I squat, too.

I don’t want them to be over. I’ve also been into martial arts for some 4 years and I can’t do that anymore either.

Bummer, you know?[/quote]

You have to understand something about doctors, they will ALWAYS err on the side of caution. ALWAYS. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but you have to think about what the typical person would do in this situation. They would most likely give up on all exercise forever and just become lazy lard asses for the rest of their lives, using this as an excuse.

The fact that you decided to come on here and try to find things you can do safely and keep kicking ass, you’ve already shown you’re not in that crowd. When you go see therapists and the like, you should let them know that you plan on exercises and kicking ass as much as possible. When they know this from the get go, they will be better prepared to help you get to that goal, instead of just assuming you are giving up on living an active lifestyle, since that’s what normal people would do.

I’d also recommend you talk to experienced lifters who have been through stuff like this. StormTheBeach had a bad back injury and deadlifts over 800 now. He’s also increadibly knowledgeable on this kind of stuff. Ask him and other guys like him for advice, just remember to keep a filter when you decide who you want to ask. Only ask people that know their shit.

I want to make it clear that I’m not telling you to go squat and deadlift or you’re a puss or anything like that. I’m just saying explore your options, talk to different people, and see what is still possible. Don’t just assume you won’t be able to do stuff like that anymore.

[quote]Chris87 wrote:
You have to understand something about doctors, they will ALWAYS err on the side of caution. ALWAYS. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but you have to think about what the typical person would do in this situation. They would most likely give up on all exercise forever and just become lazy lard asses for the rest of their lives, using this as an excuse.

The fact that you decided to come on here and try to find things you can do safely and keep kicking ass, you’ve already shown you’re not in that crowd. When you go see therapists and the like, you should let them know that you plan on exercises and kicking ass as much as possible. When they know this from the get go, they will be better prepared to help you get to that goal, instead of just assuming you are giving up on living an active lifestyle, since that’s what normal people would do.

I’d also recommend you talk to experienced lifters who have been through stuff like this. StormTheBeach had a bad back injury and deadlifts over 800 now. He’s also increadibly knowledgeable on this kind of stuff. Ask him and other guys like him for advice, just remember to keep a filter when you decide who you want to ask. Only ask people that know their shit.

I want to make it clear that I’m not telling you to go squat and deadlift or you’re a puss or anything like that. I’m just saying explore your options, talk to different people, and see what is still possible. Don’t just assume you won’t be able to do stuff like that anymore.[/quote]

Well said.

As others have said, dig a little deeper before you assume lifting is over for you, but do so with caution. Every word out of a given doctor’s mouth is not necessarily gospel and, like Chris said they always err on the side of caution.

Without knowing more I might suggest “pistols” (one legged squats) with body weight to start, light Turkish get ups, and a slow “hinge” type motion which is essentially a slow-mo movement patterning version of the kettlebell swing and is described in this article:

All of this is obviously dependant on what your body will allow and I strongly suggest work with a sports oriented therapist if that’s an option for you.

Be tough, but be smart. Respect the hell out of your injury but don’t let it defeat you before you even start.

I did some sprint intervals today it’s amazing how out of shape I am with just one month of rest unbelievable I was out of breath by the first interval.

I did some pistols negatives too, I couldn’t even do the whole thing. And I couldn’t do GHR so I did negatives for those too.

I’m down to 4 pullups! From like 15 in a row…

I also visited another doctor and I told him I was willing to do anything to return to sports. The problem is they all keep telling me, why don’t you just play tennis man? Why contact sports and lifting? I’ll tell you why I hate tennis I like fighting and I like lifting to be strong when fighting.

I told him I was willing to do anything; 6 months rehab? Okay. Back exercises? Sure. Running everyday? no problem. Not eating? Alright. Losing weight? Cool.

He told me woah take it easy there son and asked me to take a CT scan.

I await the results, thanks for the encouragement I’m not giving up.

In the meantime however…I will keep doing this bodyweight stuff you guys suggested.

I’m just concerned if negatives are enough to build strength.