Boy do I wish that I had found T-Nation years ago! I am looking for some strength and mass building moves to work around a couple problem areas.
In July, I had surgery on my neck to remove a herniated disk (C6-C7) and fuse the surrounding vertebrae. This is the second time I had to have this surgery; the first was 5 years ago (C5-C6). Both times surgery was the only option as I was losing motor function in one or both arms.
In early October my neurosurgeon released me to return to the gym with the agreement that I would no longer lift anything overhead. This eliminates my favorite triceps movement - overhead EZ bar extensions, and all shoulder presses.
In addition to the girly-neck problem:) I also experience recurrent lumbar strains. The source of this is a right hamstring that is tighter/stronger than the left. It pulls on my lower back muscles and several times a year, I hit the floor. As a result, I have avoided bent over rows, squats, deadlifts, and anything else that will put my lower back at risk for many years.
Even before the second fusion, the doctor said that I should avoid overhead lifts as they put too much strain on my lower back. Since I have now healed and do not wish to undergo any more surgical procedures this will be my mantra “No overhead lifts”.
I do a lot of lower back & ab work, as well as hamstring stretches but have been unable to avoid the occasional strain.
One good thing to come out of the neck problem is that it is forcing me out of a rut that has lasted for years. I am doing moves now that I had never done in the past, and seeing real progress. I want more progress!
First off, I want to increase my upper back width, and build up my traps. With all of the lower back work that I do, my lower back is in way better condition than upper.
I suspect that pull/chin ups are about my only option given the lower back problems, and would appreciate some input (ZEB?) in this respect. I did a search yesterday, and from that I gathered that I should increase my grip strength. Arms are pretty strong but not huge. I have been doing Ian King’s 12 week arm program to regain strength lost due to the neck thing.
I also want to bulk up my shoulders, which I suspect will be a challenge given the overhead lifting prohibition.
As for background, I am 40 years old, and have been working out for 20+ years. I’m either an ectomorph or an “easy-hard gainer”. Never been big - 5’-9" tall, and usually around 160 lbs. I’ve been told that I look like a college level wrestler, to give you an indication of my overall build.
Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated gents!