View Full Version : Developing a workout "for lower back"
01-17-2009, 08:38 PM
I was approached today by a friend who has been watching me workout and talk about working out for a while. He is BIG guy who played high school football at a high level but then stopped. He worked in the oil fields for a bunch of years. His hobby is big diesel trucks and I am pretty sure he lifts the engines out of his trucks by hand....
Anyway, he is overweight and realizes it. He asked me today if I could come up with a workout that would help his lower back. I am thinking along the lines of basic general fitness for a starter, but he is going to want something that is specific at least on some level.
He does not own any weights or gear and would rather not buy anything. He can make stuff but I am hesitant to go that route. Can anyone here offer up some suggestions as to where to start?
I am really happy that he asked my advice, and I really don't want to bore him or even worse hurt him.
Thanks in advance.
01-18-2009, 12:03 AM
Does he have back pain or something?
01-18-2009, 05:13 AM
Sorry, yes he does. I should have added that. He has not had any specific injury. The pain is apparently from years of being 6'6" with poor posture, weighing several hundreds of pounds, developing a pretty big gut, and just basically ignoring fitness in general. Thanks.
01-18-2009, 06:55 AM
This is an assumption--losing weight through beer and soda reduction would be one of the best things he could start with.
It is hard to work out for 30-60 minutes and undo the damage that a big belly has on the back for the rest of the hours of the day.
01-18-2009, 07:09 AM
You are absolutely right. And this is going to be my main focus. However he wants to hear more than "stop drinking beer and soda and eating chips..." He knows he is sore because his belley is too big. So I have his mind on that. My initial thought is to work on bodyweight squats, plank holds on elbows, supermans, dead hangs, and some spine mobility (superjoint type) exercises along with a diet overhaul. It is a HUGE deal for him to ask for help.
Eventually I will introduce the idea of sandbags, rocks in backpacks, and other more involved things. I have to start with baby steps.
01-18-2009, 08:13 AM
You are absolutely right. And this is going to be my main focus. However he wants to hear more than "stop drinking beer and soda and eating chips..."
Sometimes the truth is hard to hear....most people want a magical exercise to fix everything when the biggest factor could be as simple as losing weight. Other than that I would do alot of standing push/pull movements to work his whole body posture and stability (like using heavy 1 arm cable push/pull stuff). Probably also needs to stretch those hips/hamstrings.
01-18-2009, 08:24 AM
Yeah, getting proper posture back into the shoulder girdle & from the feet to the lower back is going to be key to eliminating pain.
01-18-2009, 08:42 AM
Your initial plan sounds good. Don't be surprised or disappointed if he doesn't make it past the first plan. He may stay with a program like that for a very long time.
Stick with a KISS approach for him, he'll likely appreciate it very much.
01-18-2009, 08:43 AM
Thanks Guys. I have some ideas rolling in my head. I'll keep you posted to how it's going if you're interested. I appreciate the feedback.
01-18-2009, 08:13 PM
I'm surprised I haven't seen light deadlifts mentioned. Are they not appropriate for this situation? I thought they were good for lower back strength and pain if form was spot-on.
01-18-2009, 08:39 PM
Deadlifts will be a mainstay once we get some baseline conditioning. He does not own any equipment, so deadlifts will have to be odd objects ie: rocks, sandbags, engine blocks...
By the way, I was talking to him today about the plan and I mentioned hamstring and butt flexibility. He said "like this?" as he put his heels together, the balls of his size 17 shoes together, locked his knees straight and put the palms of his hands on the floor right next to his heels with his nose on his knees:eek: :eek: :eek:
Needless to say, flexibility is not one of the things we need to work on...
01-18-2009, 10:38 PM
I'd have him build a sled and drag it around ~10-20 minutes a day in different ways. It's a lunge burner, even at low intensity, easy to build if you have a chunk of steel and can weld or have a friend can. If you have even just a small patch of grass or pavement, it's a great way to raise your work capacity and strengthen your whole body.
01-19-2009, 07:11 AM
So hamstrings are good, make sure to check the hip flexors too...
01-19-2009, 07:17 AM
I don't know that I would consider his hamstrings fine based on that test.
Check out this article by Mike Robertson:
01-19-2009, 08:29 AM
O yeah, hip flexors... Thanks! Those are so easily forgotten. Thanks for the article link Allen. I know that floor touching is not the be all end all, but you do need a certain amount of muscle elasticity to get that done don't you agree? It's just that I am not going to be working on a completely seized up set of hamstrings. I'm still working on this, and it will be a work in progress. He may be up for the sled drag. He's a big boy who lives out of town. Maybe he can use the sled instead of a tractor to move his Diesels from one truck to the other.;)
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