T Nation

Stop Bulking Due to Injury


I've recently had a lower back injury and I have seen the doc today. He says I'm not to lift at all for at least one week and take anti-inflamatories.

I have been bulking for nearly 4 months and my diet has been pretty much the same everyday.

Q. If I can't lift for at least one week what approach should I take with diet/exercise?

My belly is getting quite big already. Can I use this downtime to lower my carb intake and perform some daily cardio to lose some fat?

Can I make some good of this situation that I'm in?

My plan is to lower my carbs to about 90-100 per day and do some exercise (cycle/walking) while keeping just benchpress for a week as this will not put any strain on my lower spine. (if it does I'll stop immediately)

There must be a protocol that serious lifters follow in situations like this.

Any suggestions from those with knowledge and experience would be appreciated.



Well for exercises, all supported and seated exercises SHOULD be fine as long as there isn't too much loading on your spine. As for your diet, I would obviously lower your caloric intake, it's hard to say an exact number tho.

Cardio, maybe not running but that's up to you. To play it really safe horizontal cycling would be the easiest.

Take it easy!


Am I better off performing exercises that don't pressure my spine and just keep bulking?

BTW- That avatar of yours rocks! I can never decide which scene I like the most.


I know right!
Well if you can't lift at all don't bother eating as much as usual just go for maintenance. When you go back to lifting then use your usual diet. And yeah no exercice that put pressure on your spine, or at least not much. You will have to gauge what you can and cannot do.


What's the diagnosis? I went right to a physical therapist and she's done a lot to fix muscle imbalances. I had tight piriformis, weak / inhibited glute medius, tight quads and hip flexors, left ankle mobility issues, tight hamstrings etc. My right side is worse and my QL is tight.

I still have pain/tightness in the glute muscle and tight QL, but things are improving. She's cleared me for bench press, weighted lunges (DBs in hand), pull-ups. Surprisingly, she asked me to stop doing hanging leg lifts and rolling planks on the ball. The stretches and glute exercises she's given me appear to be helping.

No dead lifts or squats, but I'm using this as an opportunity to focus on upper body. I've added some (gasp) isolation exercises for shoulders, triceps and biceps.

Diet-wise, I'm trying to carb/calorie cycle and I think that's helped minimize chub. I've been experimenting a lot in the past month so my routine and diet have been changing as I've been figuring out what I can do pain free, etc.


It's only a week, you could probably benefit from a deload any way. Just drop some calories from your diet or eat a little cleaner for the week then start working out again.

And just because an exercise is seated doesn't mean it isn't still hard on your low back.

How did you injure it?


yeah it really depends on the type of low back injury. for example, if it was a facet injury anything that puts the body in some extension, like bench press with a tight arch, is going to hurt, while the same benching with an arch would nearly always be a non issue (or even feel good) for someone with a herniated disc.

If you aren't working out as much, I would cut the carbs down, just having them with my first few meals in the day, but keep the protein pretty high. I deload regularly and don't do much exercise at all during that week and I keep my calories pretty much the same.


The doc just said use anti-infamatory cream and don't lift anything for a week however I did chest yesterday with no pain whatsoever.
Painwise the mornings are getting better (slowly) everyday so I think I'm gonna have to take a similar approach to you as in cycle my carbs to suit my workout and drop squats and deadlifts all together until it heals properly.

Mr Body Massage- This injury was cause from doing a shoulder db press using no back support and when I raised the dbs I felt a click and it wasn't until the next day that the pain hit me. It went away fast however I happened to increase the weight of my deadlift too soon which aggravated it and caused it to come back worse than ever.

If any exercises hurt I'll just stop performing them immediately.


I second what Mr. Body Massage brought up; it's a week. Why are you even chancing this? Back injuries are not something to take lightly, and while a professional athlete has incentive to ignore injuries and keep training, it sounds like you're just doing this out of enthusiasm and habit.

It's a week. I'd clean up my diet and go walking (remarkably good exercise, BTW). Hit the gym when I'm good to come back. It's your call though.