T Nation

Programming After Injury


So I'm trying to pick the program I'm gonna run when I return to my normal training after a 9 month recovery from a lower back injury. I'm choosing between a 3 day a week full body program such as starting stremgth, and a 4 day upper lower split that emphasizes the core lift such as 5/3/1 (but linear). With no prior injury I would do starting strength as it offers higher frequency of lifts and faster progression. Obviously if I ran starting strength I would progress slower and not push myself right away. Any input or suggestions or other factors I may be missing? Mostly I'm concerned starting strength may be a bit much for my lower back (could be wrong), but the other program would be not as much exposure to each lift and I really want to nail down my form from the very beginning.




doesn’t matter.

Pick a program you enjoy. Avoid pain. Learn alternate ways (Iso, bands, rings/trx, medicine ball, etc), anything to get moving with no pain.

Progression is useless if you re injure yourself. Learn to warm up and learn mobility exercises.

oh, being injured is not the end of the world, just a minor set back that teaches.


Thanks man. I’ve actually incorporated all of your points in the past month as a way to train around my injury. I don’t say this in a know it all way, I’m just proud of the fact that I have grown from this experience as a lifter. Those are all extremely important and valid points to be reminded of though. So in your opinion you don’t think that the high frequency of lower back stressful work in starting strength will be an issue? Thanks a lot for your input by the way


What I think is irrelevant. Your back will tell you.

Pick a program you enjoy, work around it if needed or change.

In the end, do something that doesn’t hurt.

IMO, 5x5 type of programs are excellent for getting you a great base and/or bring up lagging part. I personally cant squat 3 times a week, as it kills my knees. So, for me, it is pointless in picking a program that is superior for my immediate goal(s) but that hurts me.

Good luck


Thanks for the advice. Thats a good point avout looking past immediate goals. i get caught up in that sometimes. Any other input just for perspective?


I’m also a big believer in the “flush” principal.

After my work out, I usually do light weight, high rep just to the blood in the area and " flush" the muscle. Is this a proven method? Don’t care, I like the way my muscle feels after.

Oh, and have fun.


I also like high rep work after my main lifts. I call it my “guilty pleasure work”. I have to constantly reassess though cause I find myself adding too muc over a period of time.


for what it’s worth, I hurt my knee a while back and was doing it linear squats 3 x 5, 3x/week, w/ no probs… this included the added volume from rehab stuff like lunges and extensions. BUT I started with 10 lb goblet squats and moved up. I’m up to 160 now, so I still have a long way to go, but it’s coming along.