T Nation

Switching to Unilateral Training

I was diagnosed with a lower back strain 4 months ago. It is still not better and I’m gonna go see a doctor who knows whats really going on soon to see whats really going on. Basically pain in my erector/down into the glute/hip. It gets really stiff too. I don’t feel like writing it all up but I have a thread in injuries/rehab about it, ill post the link.

Basically I have been working on mobility/stability and I"m wondering if switching to unilateral work for some time would be a good idea. Its been 4 months and I can’t stand just doing leg curls, leg extensions on leg day. Anyways I’ll be getting a diagnosis soon (hopefully), but in the meantime do you guys think this is a good idea? My main goal is strength so I’m worried my deadlift and squat will plummet. I looked at Bruno’s article on the subject but I’m wondering if any of you had success with solely training unilaterally for some time and what the carryover to the bilateral lifts was. thanks

I think the poster know as swole trained unilaterally for a while due to some injury.

I train unilaterally now, due to back, shoulder, and knee issues.

DB split squats, Bulgarian split squats, walking lunges are your friends.

You might try goblet squats also.

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
I was diagnosed with a lower back strain 4 months ago. It is still not better and I’m gonna go see a doctor who knows whats really going on soon to see whats really going on. Basically pain in my erector/down into the glute/hip. It gets really stiff too. I don’t feel like writing it all up but I have a thread in injuries/rehab about it, ill post the link.

Basically I have been working on mobility/stability and I"m wondering if switching to unilateral work for some time would be a good idea. Its been 4 months and I can’t stand just doing leg curls, leg extensions on leg day. Anyways I’ll be getting a diagnosis soon (hopefully), but in the meantime do you guys think this is a good idea? My main goal is strength so I’m worried my deadlift and squat will plummet. I looked at Bruno’s article on the subject but I’m wondering if any of you had success with solely training unilaterally for some time and what the carryover to the bilateral lifts was. thanks [/quote]

I read parts of your rehab thread. As an older guy my suggestion would be to take 2 steps back.
If a chiropractor is not helpfull for your situation i would try an accupunctor other knowledgeable people, sport therapist etc…
You might want to put the strong aspect on the back burner, focus on getting leaner or more muscles for some time to realy heal. Reinjuring yourself is not getting forward.
I healed a shoulder issue with 5 weeks of total rest and it is fine for the last 5.5 months with some suggestions i did find here and rehab i did for my RC.
All the best !

I literally had (have) the exact same issue. I also have chronic inflammation of both infraspinatus (sp) and around the scapula. Heres what helps me:

-Sleep flat on your back
-more ab work
-split squats
-light dumbbell rows
-lean over next to a power rack, grab the rack with one hand lower than your shoulder. Put opposite foot back farther and try to pull your entire back, apart do it with each side. I know I did not explain it well but experiment.
-whenever I stand still, stand on one leg and see how your hips shift differently depending on which leg you’re standing on. This may give you some clues as to what is wrong.
-foam roll head to toe every single day
-hamstring/glute activation excercises.

If you want more details on my condition/what I do to help it, feel free to ask. I’ve dealt with the same issue for almost a year now. Initially even squatting/benching empty bars where causing muscle spasms.

Thanks guys. I’m trying to go to a sports specialist, just waiting for the whole referral/insurance process to come along… I have a question though. By putting strength on the back burner and really focusing on muscular development (training like a bodybuilder in a sense) would I lose a ton of strength and have to take a really long time to rebuild back to where I was? I love strength and I love to train for it, I guess it’s hard to let the progress I’ve made slip away…

heres the link to my injury thread

http://tnation.T-Nation.com/hub/bulkNcut#myForums/thread/5548847/

Regaining muscles mass or strenght might take about 1 third. So if you loose 6 months worth while resting than rehab about 2 months will be needed to get back there.
Not enough rest just make that longer.
To improve a lot we need a long term plan. Focussing long term this might look more like a hickup.
Learn about nutrition, whatever, enjoy life and be back when it is smart is my small 2 cents.

Thanks a ton zeph. I’ve started doing more ab work, been reading a lot of Brunos stuff over again cause this situation seems to be pretty close to his “core” training philosphy. I had been foam rolling twice a day for a couple months but i’ve dropped back to once and hardly notice a difference. Hitting the hips and glutes really helps. Also been doing some dynamic stretching once a day and using horse liniment to warm up the area. I do have a few questions though and I’ll keep them pretty specific so they’re easy to answer.

  1. did you get a diagnosis for the lower back from a doc?

  2. How much have your strength levels dropped?

I’ll prlly come up with a few more but thanks again for the help.

I had back surgery in 1996, L4-L5. If you have disk issues then your squatting, dead lift days are over. Your days of lifting anything over your head are over as well. I can’t do Single Leg work as my left knee rejects the notion. The leg press/ext machines put undo stress where you don’t want it. The lower back. You could do them but the stiffness you write about will re-occur and get worse each time. I am down to Bodyweight Squats. Even at that they do the job.

The first half of my workout is Pull ups, Dips, Push ups, and Squats. I didn’t do my first dip or my first pull up until last year at age 48. I follow that up with heavy Lat Pull Down, Incline Bench Press, Bicep Curl, and Close Grip Incline Bench Press. This works everything without undue stress on the lower back.

Doctors and insurance plans are cheap today. Today they would not have fixed my disk. They would have diagnosed me as having a low back strain, given me some anti-inflammatory, and sent me home. They would rather it re-occur and treat it cheaply than pay for the surgery and fix it once and for all. Be aware of this. I’ve never regretted getting the surgery.

If you avoid what ever causes you a low back strain there is no reason for it to progress any further. People who ignore this warning are the ones that end up with spinal fusion or worse rods put in their backs. These people end up in constant pain or drug addicts.

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
Thanks a ton zeph. I’ve started doing more ab work, been reading a lot of Brunos stuff over again cause this situation seems to be pretty close to his “core” training philosphy. I had been foam rolling twice a day for a couple months but i’ve dropped back to once and hardly notice a difference. Hitting the hips and glutes really helps. Also been doing some dynamic stretching once a day and using horse liniment to warm up the area. I do have a few questions though and I’ll keep them pretty specific so they’re easy to answer.

  1. did you get a diagnosis for the lower back from a doc?

  2. How much have your strength levels dropped?

I’ll prlly come up with a few more but thanks again for the help.
[/quote]

I basically was told by a doctor to “touch my toes” 10 times a day and take muscle relaxers. I left his office pretty pissed. My chiro told me to lay off lifting and do “superslow” reps. lol. My strength levels basically dropped to nil and I had to start completely over from the bar up, it hurt that bad. I went from squatting high 300s ATG to using the bar.

I started dieting because lean and weak is better than fat and weak, losing the weight helped, see my thread in this section. If you let the problem linger you’ll have flexability and mobility issues that will fuck with your squat and pull in your hips.

@ krinks- they told me there was no way it was a disc and didn’t even send me for an mri or xray. looking back im kinda mad about that. But, there is no pain radiating down my legs or anything. I just want to be able to train hard, and I love the deadlift and squat. I wanted to do a powerlifting meet eventually and more importantly I want to be a s

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
I literally had (have) the exact same issue. I also have chronic inflammation of both infraspinatus (sp) and around the scapula. Heres what helps me:

-Sleep flat on your back
-more ab work
-split squats
-light dumbbell rows
-lean over next to a power rack, grab the rack with one hand lower than your shoulder. Put opposite foot back farther and try to pull your entire back, apart do it with each side. I know I did not explain it well but experiment.
-whenever I stand still, stand on one leg and see how your hips shift differently depending on which leg you’re standing on. This may give you some clues as to what is wrong.
-foam roll head to toe every single day
-hamstring/glute activation excercises.

If you want more details on my condition/what I do to help it, feel free to ask. I’ve dealt with the same issue for almost a year now. Initially even squatting/benching empty bars where causing muscle spasms.[/quote]

Could you go into more detail about your chronic inflammation around the scapula?

I have had pain, knots, burning sensations around my scap for years. My acrimon also gets inflamed. It limits my chest training severely.

I have been to 3 docs for this. Headed back to the ortho soon.

[quote]Captnoblivious wrote:

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
I literally had (have) the exact same issue. I also have chronic inflammation of both infraspinatus (sp) and around the scapula. Heres what helps me:

-Sleep flat on your back
-more ab work
-split squats
-light dumbbell rows
-lean over next to a power rack, grab the rack with one hand lower than your shoulder. Put opposite foot back farther and try to pull your entire back, apart do it with each side. I know I did not explain it well but experiment.
-whenever I stand still, stand on one leg and see how your hips shift differently depending on which leg you’re standing on. This may give you some clues as to what is wrong.
-foam roll head to toe every single day
-hamstring/glute activation excercises.

If you want more details on my condition/what I do to help it, feel free to ask. I’ve dealt with the same issue for almost a year now. Initially even squatting/benching empty bars where causing muscle spasms.[/quote]

Could you go into more detail about your chronic inflammation around the scapula?

I have had pain, knots, burning sensations around my scap for years. My acrimon also gets inflamed. It limits my chest training severely.

I have been to 3 docs for this. Headed back to the ortho soon.

[/quote]

For months i had an issue with my dominant shoulder with knots in the scapula area and also acrimon problems. It is now fine for 5.5 months. The situation might be different but after 5 weeks of total rest i started rehab for RC, pullaparts, bromstick stretch …
Now i use neutral grip.
Frederic Delavier wrote : Strength Training Anatomy and other books about risky mouvements/exercises for some people (shoulder, acrimon, …). I read french so i sugguest you search his name at your librairy and see what is available to you.

[quote]BHappy wrote:

[quote]Captnoblivious wrote:

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
I literally had (have) the exact same issue. I also have chronic inflammation of both infraspinatus (sp) and around the scapula. Heres what helps me:

-Sleep flat on your back
-more ab work
-split squats
-light dumbbell rows
-lean over next to a power rack, grab the rack with one hand lower than your shoulder. Put opposite foot back farther and try to pull your entire back, apart do it with each side. I know I did not explain it well but experiment.
-whenever I stand still, stand on one leg and see how your hips shift differently depending on which leg you’re standing on. This may give you some clues as to what is wrong.
-foam roll head to toe every single day
-hamstring/glute activation excercises.

If you want more details on my condition/what I do to help it, feel free to ask. I’ve dealt with the same issue for almost a year now. Initially even squatting/benching empty bars where causing muscle spasms.[/quote]

Could you go into more detail about your chronic inflammation around the scapula?

I have had pain, knots, burning sensations around my scap for years. My acrimon also gets inflamed. It limits my chest training severely.

I have been to 3 docs for this. Headed back to the ortho soon.

[/quote]

For months i had an issue with my dominant shoulder with knots in the scapula area and also acrimon problems. It is now fine for 5.5 months. The situation might be different but after 5 weeks of total rest i started rehab for RC, pullaparts, bromstick stretch …
Now i use neutral grip.
Frederic Delavier wrote : Strength Training Anatomy and other books about risky mouvements/exercises for some people (shoulder, acrimon, …). I read french so i sugguest you search his name at your librairy and see what is available to you. [/quote]

Thanks for the info, I will look into Delavier. Are you pain free now?

[quote]Captnoblivious wrote:

[quote]BHappy wrote:

[quote]Captnoblivious wrote:

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
I literally had (have) the exact same issue. I also have chronic inflammation of both infraspinatus (sp) and around the scapula. Heres what helps me:

-Sleep flat on your back
-more ab work
-split squats
-light dumbbell rows
-lean over next to a power rack, grab the rack with one hand lower than your shoulder. Put opposite foot back farther and try to pull your entire back, apart do it with each side. I know I did not explain it well but experiment.
-whenever I stand still, stand on one leg and see how your hips shift differently depending on which leg you’re standing on. This may give you some clues as to what is wrong.
-foam roll head to toe every single day
-hamstring/glute activation excercises.

If you want more details on my condition/what I do to help it, feel free to ask. I’ve dealt with the same issue for almost a year now. Initially even squatting/benching empty bars where causing muscle spasms.[/quote]

Could you go into more detail about your chronic inflammation around the scapula?

I have had pain, knots, burning sensations around my scap for years. My acrimon also gets inflamed. It limits my chest training severely.

I have been to 3 docs for this. Headed back to the ortho soon.

[/quote]

For months i had an issue with my dominant shoulder with knots in the scapula area and also acrimon problems. It is now fine for 5.5 months. The situation might be different but after 5 weeks of total rest i started rehab for RC, pullaparts, bromstick stretch …
Now i use neutral grip.
Frederic Delavier wrote : Strength Training Anatomy and other books about risky mouvements/exercises for some people (shoulder, acrimon, …). I read french so i sugguest you search his name at your librairy and see what is available to you. [/quote]

Thanks for the info, I will look into Delavier. Are you pain free now?
[/quote]
That area is fine, no pain, no foam rolling. I just do not remember if what i read is in french or English. I know he wrote many books some are available in English.
I used bands(pilates style) for the pullaparts and a scarf allmost as long as i am tall for the broomstick stretches.
The title will probably include the word anatomic in English.
All the best !

The left 1 is the 1 i had in mind but with many books i am quite sure a different title might include some of the same stuff.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:

-hamstring/glute activation excercises.

.[/quote]
OHhhhhh yea x 2