T Nation

Need Help L5 S1


I want to start by saying im a new member here. Im 31 and work in law enforcement. Little over year ago i was diagnosed by mri of a l5 s1 pretty severe herniation on my right side. It has been stopping me in my tracks. I havent been able to run havent been able to do much lifting or working out. Me losing my strength and looks left me feeling pretty shitty and down. I cant afford to be out of work right now for surgery so i have been through 3 different spine injections hoping for relief. I had maybe 10% relief. Can you guys maybe point me in the right direction on how to develope a lifting and workout program aimed at getting my strength back while rehabing my back. Looking for tips and help of any kind.

Sample work outs. Plans. Anything. Thanks guys.


I have L5/S1 issues.

I suppose everyones injury is different, but I just avoid anything that makes it worse. which means no deadlifting or back squatting, but instead single leg work, sled work and bike hill sprints.



I agree. Single leg and bodyweight work. Sleds might not feel great, i suspect you’ll know immediately.


strengthening your core should, in theory, help. I’m trying that just now to try and fix my own chronically shitty back.

Careful, though. A lot of core exercises can fuck you up if you let your form go to shit so start with the easiest variations you can and build up from there slowly.

And like Uncle Bird said: avoid what hurts. Muy importante.


L3-S1 revision laminectomy and discectomies two years ago after 17 years of sciatica (right leg) and back/SI joint pain and dysfunction (to put it mildly). Previous unsuccessful epidural and discectomy. Narrow spinal canal, central stenosis, disc degeneration, arthritis. Did tremendous amount of walking through the pain but still lost proper glute activation- hamstrings and lumbar-thoracic erectors took over and began hurting as well. As a result -long term dysfunction in iliopsoas as well. Single leg variations and full range of motion (deep bodyweight squats, etc) aggravated it more. High reps also were not good. Started doing bodyweight glute thrusts and bridges but didn’t get anything but pain from those either.
Key for me seems to be strengthening and not ROM or endurance work. Few months (too soon) after surgery started doing barbell 5 rep glute thrusts and immediately felt great. Went up to double bodyweight in a few weeks and just felt better and better. Can do BB glute bridges now too with same weight and they don’t aggravate it.
Also get good core activation from “drawing in” exercises without aggravation whereas “bracing” /plank types quickly set me off.
Good luck.


Bret Contreras has the answers for glutes. A lot of good articles here and at his site. Like this one:
New Research: The Glute Max is Really Good at Stabilizing the SI Joint