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Preparing Spine For AM Exercise

I’m recovering from one herniated lumbar disc and another bulging disc lower down. I work out in the early mornings. I know that exercising within the first hour of waking isn’t recommended because excess fluid in the spine from the nighttime needs to drain so the discs aren’t vulnerable to injury.

Does anyone know of any activities I can do in that first hour to hasten or ensure draining of excess fluid from the discs?

Thanks,

Scott

Hey there:

I deal with the same issue with a bulging disk. I work out in the AM due to family commitments after work.

I don’t squat or barbell deadlift anymore. For leg development, I use front squats, heavy lunges, and dumbbell deadlifts. Basically, I try to avoid lumbar compression.

To answsr your question, I would refer specifically to the Magnificent Mobility DVD for warmpup exercises. I also do overhead squats to warmup, taking some type of broom handle and do easy overhead squats to get the blood going.

Listen to your body. A few mornings, I’m extremely tight and work around it accordingly. On the weekends, when I can workout in the afternoon, I’m more liberal in my training methods.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Morning Stretches:

Lay on back…

  1. 1 knee 2 chest (Then both)

  2. Hamstring stretches

  3. 1 leg over and stretch shoulders opposite direction slowly…you may get a few spine pops…this is good.

I suffer from a ruptured L5.

[quote]ghost87 wrote:
Hey there:

I deal with the same issue with a bulging disk. I work out in the AM due to family commitments after work.

I don’t squat or barbell deadlift anymore. For leg development, I use front squats, heavy lunges, and dumbbell deadlifts. Basically, I try to avoid lumbar compression.

To answsr your question, I would refer specifically to the Magnificent Mobility DVD for warmpup exercises. I also do overhead squats to warmup, taking some type of broom handle and do easy overhead squats to get the blood going.

Listen to your body. A few mornings, I’m extremely tight and work around it accordingly. On the weekends, when I can workout in the afternoon, I’m more liberal in my training methods.

Hope this helps. Good luck. [/quote]

I agree, listen to your body and purchase the Magnificent Mobility DVD. I really believe part of my progress lately (without injury) is in part due to that DVD. I work out in the mornings and I feel warmed up through use of some of their exercises. There are plenty of exercises get your spine ready for some loading.

switch your night activity to morning activity and make it last longer than 2 minutes.

I’m trying to start working out in the AM too. I do Mobility drills.

I would actually recommend against cold stretching first thing in the morning as you are putting yourself at risk for further injury. Furthermore, I tend to lean towards Mike Boyle in that I believe that the lower back (and abdominals) are there primarily for stability, not mobility so avoid excess rotationary work first thing.

What I would recommend is to activate your erectors through various stability oriented movements. One way I like to activate my lower erectors is by starting on all fours and slowly rounding your back and squeezing your abs and then slowly moving through to a hyper extension where you are squeezing your lower back. Go through about 10-12 slow reps.

Following that, some good mornings with a broomstick, overhead squats and some subsequent glute activation.

I would also look to focus on hip mobility and ankle mobility post workout and on off days. This will ease the pressure on your lower back.

Hope that helps.

Sasha

[quote]SLG wrote:
Does anyone know of any activities I can do in that first hour to hasten or ensure draining of excess fluid from the discs?[/quote]

I just reread parts of Dr. Stuart McGill’s widely-respected book “Low Back Disorders” to see if he answers your question.

The short answer is, no, he doesn’t suggest any methods for draining fluid from disks more quickly, which is what you specifically asked about.

His recommendation is simply “because the discs generally lose 90% of the fluid that they will lose over the course of a day within the first hour after rising from bed, we suggest simply avoiding this period for exercise (that is, bending exercise) either for rehabilitation or performance training” (page 220).

However, with regard to people who have no choice (people like fire fighters, for example, who must carry heavy objects soon after waking), he recommends that they attempt to allow the nuclear material in the disks to equilibrate by sitting very upright or standing tall for a while before bending or loading the spine.

With regard to the advice you’ve been given here about mobility and stretching, Dr. McGill advises against bending the spine soon after waking. He says flatly:

“Don’t perform bending exercises in the first hour or two after rising” (page 220).

[quote]FreddieY wrote:
SLG wrote:
Does anyone know of any activities I can do in that first hour to hasten or ensure draining of excess fluid from the discs?

I just reread parts of Dr. Stuart McGill’s widely-respected book “Low Back Disorders” to see if he answers your question.

The short answer is, no, he doesn’t suggest any methods for draining fluid from disks more quickly, which is what you specifically asked about.

His recommendation is simply “because the discs generally lose 90% of the fluid that they will lose over the course of a day within the first hour after rising from bed, we suggest simply avoiding this period for exercise (that is, bending exercise) either for rehabilitation or performance training” (page 220).

However, with regard to people who have no choice (people like fire fighters, for example, who must carry heavy objects soon after waking), he recommends that they attempt to allow the nuclear material in the disks to equilibrate by sitting very upright or standing tall for a while before bending or loading the spine.

With regard to the advice you’ve been given here about mobility and stretching, Dr. McGill advises against bending the spine soon after waking. He says flatly:

“Don’t perform bending exercises in the first hour or two after rising” (page 220).[/quote]

This is spot on but if AM training is a must then we need to prepare your lumbar spine for activity. This is why you need to activate those muscles rather than try and increase mobility/flexibility - which isn’t necessary. So as mentioned, I would seek to activate your stabilizers as best as possible in preparation for exercise.

Hope this helps.

Sasha

The “cat-camel” exercise is supposed to help lubricate the discs…

FIRST PRIORITY! Make sure your multifidus/transverse abdominous are active with the “drawing in” exercise… this was THE exercise to turn me around after 3 plus years of recovering from back surgery. had to find it online, PT’s I had never brought it up. www.back-exercises.com

Can you sleep sitting up? Just for the last hour that is.

Single limb training.