T Nation

Need to Increase work capacity

I’ve just came off of a lower back injury and started doing some upper body lifting and some quad exercises with no weights (1 legged squats and bulgarian squats) and a few ham exercises that dont hurt (hyperextension on swiss ball, leg curls). I despirately need to increase my work capacity, how many days a week should i lift if increasing work capacity is my main goal. I was thinking 3 days a week, with 2 upper body days and 1 lower body day, with the rest focused on work capacity. Heres the choices i have for helping increase my work capacity, bike riding(not the stationary crap, got some good hills around), hitting a heavy bag, non-weighted GPP like Coach Davies uses. I still can’t do anything right now that loads up or jars my lower back very much. My doc said light hyperextensions would help, and i’m trying to stay away from running right now. So fellow T-men, could i please get some help, work capacity, is very very low.

I like the westside approach of “don’t lift to get inshape, get in shape to lift” Here are some things that have help my conditioning out big time, hopefully providing some ideas…

Here are some things that have helped me out big time…hopefuly you’ll get some ideas…


A) dragging weight for distance around the track usually 45-70lbs for a half-mile, breaking it up forwards and backwards drag, object is to only stop once or twice during the course of the half-mile

B) dragging for 150ft and or 300ft with alot more weight then above


A) cut your rest down to 30seconds about between all your sets for the total workout

anybody else?

drag your butt into shape.

hmm. Most manual labor requires the back. That makes it hard. MAybe some sledge hammering?

Hey binford,
How did you originally injure your back? You can start to strengthen the “weak link” that caused it.
A couple other ideas to look at are 1)farmers walks, you can choose the weight and time.
2)light kettlebell swings (or use odd shaped objects)
3)reverse hypers on a swissball - helps take the initial strain off and increase ROM as your able.
As for frequency, work up to 2-3 times a week. Start slow 1 set 1 week, 1 set twice the next, 2 sets one day and 1 another day the third week…etc, or choose the rate of progression your self.
I would go 2 lower body days and 1 upper body day. Work flexibility as able both dynamic and static.
Hope this helps.Peace,

I dont have a sled though, and is dragging a sled a good idea after a low back injury? I’m not wanting to put alot of pressure on it. Increasing your work capacity is just increasing your over all conditioning right? So would riding a bike uphill be good?

T-Ren: I originally hurt it doing front squats and i felt a pop in my lower back. Turns out i ended up with a slightly bulged disc. But its back where its suppose to be now. But i’ve tried reverse hypers on a swiss ball, but i have a very limited range of motion. Is this normal? If i go down very far i get a lil bite in my low back. So should i keep doing them and increase ROM gradually?

binford, the sled will not put alot of “pressure” on your low back region. I’ve used it to come back from a few back injuries… maybe start building up your low back and abs slowly, starting off with higher reps and slowly raising the volume over time.

Everything raises your WC, but to what extent do you want raise your WC for… It wouldn’t be useful for me to ride my bike 30miles to build up my conditioning for a strongman contest, as the “basic premis” is different…


sorry to hear about your back. I know how it feels–I have had imaging done showing two bulging discs. They cause a lot of pain.

In my case, my back hurts regardless of my workouts. I do have to avoid sqatting w/ a bar. I use a machine to squat heavy the gym calls power squat machine. Hacks help, too. I deadlift weight. I don’t go any higher than 275 in my case. I think these modifications have actually helped my back somewhat.

I would like to know if you find anything to help the pain go away. good luck.

you can make a sled out of a tire and rope.