T Nation

Strengthening The Spine

The owner of the gym knows my mom, who told him not to allow me to “overexert myself” (STOP laughing). And he says that if I ever deadlift or squat more than 135 lbs-and now, after working on my technique I can easily pull 200lbs- he’ll kick me out (believe me he can do it, and even though I should be getting a job this summer so that I can pay my own fees, my parents wouldn’t allow to do this stuff… ignorants). So, deads and overhead presses are out(at least standing, and they’d have to pay me to do them sitting. OR use a belt)I do need to train my back tough. So my only option seems to be doing hyperextensions(no reverse hyper machine,and after my stroke I am not allowed to hold my head upside-down) Now, about hypers: are they the least effective (of course, heavily weighted, low reps)? One. Two: while doing hypers, the low back rounds. Isn’t it dangerous? I mean everyone tells you not to round your back when you you weights, yet hypers are considered safe. Something I should know?
I mean, I really want to be able to carry huge weights and press overhead (at least I think I can do saxon side bends without some fool telling me I’ll stunt my growth),and have a strong core (I easily do hanging leg raises,will start doing dragon flags and L-sits and levers, altough the chins kill my abs)
Will hypers strengthen my spine enough to support heavy weights (I also think that I might be able to do shrugs without anyone telling me to stop) while upright?

How old are you? Honestly, the best thing might be joining a different gym.

Wow, that post has a mountain of issues.
First, who made up all these rules? The trainer, your parents? I would suggest that you should have a cardiologist making up these kind of things. You do have one after having stroke at a young age right? Further you may need a specialist who is not just a cardiologist but one who specializes in atheletes. This may mean extra trips and your folks may not like it. You may want use your first paychecks for that instead of a new gym. These rules sound very arbitrary. The 135lbs. seems to be a random number (was it picked because it is two plates?) Why were those lifts selected? A bench of 250lbs would be more likly to increase the capillary pressure in your brain.

As for your concern about back (hyper) extensions. First the back should be kept straight throughout most of the motion (except possibly at the very bottom). That aside, the real issue with bending the spine comes with the additon of weight(pressure) on the spine. It causes the discs to get pinch and increases the pressure even further. It’s not terribly applicable to hyperextensions. Although keeping your head above your heart is. So I would leave them alone for now.

My advice. Take it easy for now and follow your parent rules. Find a professional, pay them well and have them work with you, your family and your trainer to develop a safe and successful program.


I’m 17. I went to a few nuerologists(including one who had studied in Russia… the advantage of living in Romania)… They simply said not to overexert myself (like I did before)(guess this means no more (4x) strip sets on breathing squats to failure, or simply going to failure, hehe), and I do know my body (I now stop before haivng headaches, turning completely red and hearing weird noises).
Anyway, in terms of professionals, there’s nothing I can do. I thnk any trainer I have acces to knows less then me, and as for the doctors, they don’t “allow” perfectly healthy people to go to gyms. So… guess I’ll take a chance. (Believe me they’re so dumb, they don’t know what a type II fibre is, that cholesterol isn’t all that bad-at least HDL-, and that you need biiig muscles for it to be safe to lift heavy weights. Not to mention that it is much safer to work in the 15-50 rep range. Yeah, right. I read Pavel’s PTTP and I’m a low rep enthusiast).
135 lbs-60kgs. I weigh 66kgs at 1,77m, I’m not supposed to lift above my own BW.
Soooo, again, does doing weighted hypers (my hyper bench is parralel to the ground, not prone) and shrugs help?
P.S.:How can one not bend his back while doing these?

Al Shades, is that you?
It’s so nice to meet a 17 year old that knows more than his parents, his doctors, and all the trainers he knows.
Wicked cool. When are you gonna start writing articles for T-Nation?

wow you have a situation I can’t really relate to all that well. Since you don’t have any real experts I would say your only option is to become an expert yourself. It sounds like you have a good grasp on what you think you can do. I would take advantage of the resources of the internet and study post stroke patients. Stick to reputable site like JAMA and cardiological organizations and watch out for personal testamonial.

In the meantime build your weights slowely and be creative in your workouts. Spend a lot of time talking to your trainer trying to slowly bring him over to your side.

As for hyperextension with a straight back. I’m going toonly mae very general statments because I don’t know your setup. The only thing that should cause the back to curve is what you are laying on to suport your lower body. from about forty five degrees below parallel to the ground to at least forty five degrees above you should be trying to keep you back arch or straight. Your back should be pretty much n the same position and you use for squats. The only area where it may round is at the very bottom at which point you are hanging and not supporting the weight with your back. Furtherthe kind of weight your are dealing in should not be enough to compress the spine n a dangerous way.


[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
Al Shades, is that you?
It’s so nice to meet a 17 year old that knows more than his parents, his doctors, and all the trainers he knows.
Wicked cool. When are you gonna start writing articles for T-Nation?[/quote]

Aren’t you a smart one? Hey, he’s 17, so he must be a stupid loser who keeps saying that adults are dum and thinks he knows everything, right?
Doctors: my problem seems to be that my blood clots to fast. So the cause of my stroke should’ve been a blood clot. Awright. So now find some studies that strongly reccomend fish oil (EPA/DHA). Strong anticoagulant. And flax. Both are antiinflammatories. NONE of the neurologists I have talked to seemed to have any idea about this.

My parents and docs:“stop taking that protein (milk/whey/even soy,tough this was a long time ago). It’s dangerous. You might have a stroke from it.”

My dad:"140lbs from the floor !?!?!?? YOU MUST BUILD UP GRADUALLY (as you can see, he cannot grasp the concept that if a weight feels light and you have a lot of people telling you your technique is perfect etc., IT IS NOT DANGEROUS)

Trainers:“look at your muscles. You can’t lift that much”“you are only allowed to overhead press after years and years of deadlifts and training”“you’ll stunt your growth and brake your spine from these no matter the technique and recovery and diet and…”“cholesterol and saturated fat should be completely eliminated from any diet”“overhead pressing will ruin your shoulder”“type WHAT muscle fibre?”“chins?”“YOUR GRIP IS TO NARROW WHEN BENCHING”(well, explaining that I work tris and am not a bodybuilder doesn’t help either)“you do 20 reps for definition, less than 5 for mass, a lot for strenght”(find the concepts of tension, volume, intensity, TUT anywhere?)“ALWAYS wear a belt”

As for doctors, I had SLIGHT problems with my spine (cyphosis, scoliosis): DON’T LIFT.Luckily, I didn’t listen to them, and after finding, books, sites studies, I continued lifting. My spine is now very straight, and I no longer have any pain, as long as I don’t take long breaks from the gym. Even then the pain is much lower or ISN’T.

The doctors keep telling me: “why do you want muscles? Stop lifting… you don’t need them… it’s stupid” etc. Would you trust them? They also say that eating high protein is dangerous. So yes, I do think I know more than the people I know. My info was taken from T-Nation, dragondoor, and a few books. If it is true, then I am right. Else, it’s not my fault. And I do think these ar e good sources.

Starkmann, thanks. But I don’t think anyone would be able to talk any sense in my trainers. So hypers (yep, my back is only rounded in the beginning of the motion- bottom) are useful? (I would find a straight response to my “do they strengthen my spine enough for it to be able to support big weights when upright” question, tough)

Tomorrow I’m going to the gym. Shrug. Hyper, bench, and a few OAP negatives. (PTTP)

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
Al Shades, is that you?
It’s so nice to meet a 17 year old that knows more than his parents, his doctors, and all the trainers he knows.
Wicked cool. When are you gonna start writing articles for T-Nation?[/quote]

I’m gonna have to say yuo probly haven’t gone to many doctors if you think they know much about training. A doctor that knows about training is few and far between where I live.

also if you have a medical condintion and you don’t learn more about it then most non-specialists(nuerologists in my case) then you are an idiot. He has a condition and has seemed to have done a great deal of research into it so as to be able to continue in what he wants to do(lift), I have had doctors tell me many extremely inccorect things about training and one doctored questioned me about my diet ( when I told her I ate about 6-7 time a day she said I was eating way too much, even though I was cutting and only eating about 2800Kcal/day (I am 300LB)) I also have a friend who is about to graduate from college with a exercise and fitness management(trainer) degree and thinks dealifts work your quads.

In regards to you problem of going with wieghts in the hypers try to build up slow, set the supports right below your hips and break at the hips with arched back. If they won’t let you use heavy wieght what about bands, you can tell them they are safer, they probly wont realize how much tension you can get out of them. but In all seriousness make sure you have your health checked regularly, and find the best cardiologist you can and get him to go over what you want to do,write down ?'s ahead of time and ask them to look into anything they don’t know right away, bring the studies with you.

alot of times they can’t be as up to date on things as they would like because their area of expertise is more broad then what you need, any good doctor is going to be happy to learn anything new if they get offended find a new doc. don’t risk your health.

sorry to rant a little, BB

Thanks BB.
Went to the gym today, and started doing hypers. Setting the supports below the hips, I noticed that I can keep an arched back (as in deads) for the full ROM. It seems to me that the paravertebrals are working just fine with weighted hypers, so I’ll keep doing them (hmm, so I want to be able to easily do 5 hypers with 90lbs beneath my chest heh,heh).
So, next time I’ll also do some shrugs as to “learn” to support weights(I keep mentioning this supporting stuff. Does the concept really exist or is it found just in my silly little brain?).
Oh, and any info on how to be able to make your spine support greater loads is welcome.
Thanks again, Black Thorn

P.S.:is that the real Weider?

never tried to say that doctors know a lot about training, some do…some don’t.
I just thought it was funny that you…as a 17 year old kid with a bunch of health problems would think he knows more than everyone in his life.
You say you know more than the trainers, you know more than the doctors and you know more than your parents.

At the same time you say you refuse to do seated military presses…why?
I don’t personally like them–but in my life I’ve done lots and lots of them. Why not spend some time doing them, showing people you know what you’re talking about instead of railing against the stupidity of all involved who aren’t you.

You’re 17 now. Soon you’ll be 18. Then you can do what the fuck you want. What’s the big rush to assume everyone’s an idiot now?

and besides, when you’re 17 and claiming you know more than anyone who disagrees with you, you wind up sounding like Al “does this .9 of banana make my butt look fat?” Shades.

Sitting exercises: I read taht they are dangerous for the spine. I tried a few and noticed I can’t brace myself as well. They simply hurt.

I don’t assume they are idiots. I didn’t say they were I only said some were fools and ignorants. I use my brain when judging a person. I consider them ignorants for not being able to accept anything except what they have once learned/heard. You saw their opinions and thoughts on training and nutrition. Do they seem to use their brain? The “you/your muscles are too small for such weights” argument really blew me away.

I didn’t claim I know more than anyone who disagrees with me. I claimed I know more than the people I mentioned.(parents, trainers, a few doctors- mostly the kinesiologists (or was it orthopedists?))