(NOTE: Cut to the last two paragraphs if you don’t care about my injury =P). I herniated one of my discs this summer, however I thought it was just a bad muscle pull or second degree tear so I kept playing sports, doing combat hapkido and working out through it. I just didn’t do any weighted lower body exercises. I eventually got an MRI and it turned out that I have a herniated disc, and that I wasn’t supposed to do any exercises where there is a load above my shoulders, resting on my back, or any exercise that brings my back to extension (notice, not just hyperextension, extension - so basically anything).
I still wanted to work out, and earlier in the summer I had ordered gymnastic rings from ringtraining.com and they finally came in about 2 weeks before my MRI. I devised a little training program to keep my upper body going without hurting my back. I just bring my knees up so that my legs are parallel with the ground during every workout I do (this naturally rounds my back), and I do pullups/chinups/neutral grips/dips. I also go as far out into the iron cross as possible and hold it for a second and come back, and do false grip holds and such.
Long story short - Pre-injury and during-injury before I stopped lifting I had a 1RM bench of 315lbs, weighted dip max of 135lbs on the belt, weighted chin max of 135lbs on the belt, and weighted pullup max of 100lbs on the belt. The dips on the rings at first were as hard as doing 90lbs on the belt (due to the stabilizing muscles getting tired), and I could only do about 15 chins max on the rings, compared to my 32 chin max I did about a month back on the chinup bar.
Also, I really haven’t lost any size and I haven’t touched weights in about 5 weeks now. Not to mention, my core looks beastly right now. In fact I’m so confident in the rings results that I think once my back heals I am going to do the Vert Jump Dev. Bible program to get my legs back in shape in the spring, and just keep doing rings for upper body, adding in more intense exercises as I progress. Does anyone else have some glory stories of the infamous gymnast still rings? ;p
P.S. Does anyone have any advice as to what I should do for my lower body in the meantime, besides the stretches the doc gave me?