Our Quintessential Exercise Episode!
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What is the best kind of exercise for people who have herniated discs and who cannot lift anything heavy? I love the paleo way of eating, but the exercise part always eluded me because I have a ruptured disc at L5 (not just herniated) and I can no longer run, jump, or lift anything overhead that compresses my spine. I really want to stay in shape, though!
Mobility and body weight movements are probably best, but you are going to need some professional help from a good trainer who can tell you where your muscle imbalances are and when your spine is deviating from proper form. I am confident I could train you in my gym (we do a lot of work with herniated and bulged discs), but I don’t think you will be able to stay completely safe without an educated eye on your movement patterns. I’m sorry if that isn’t what you were hoping to hear, but I want you to get results.
I guess I’m already doing a pretty good job then. I have been working on pull-ups and that doesn’t seem to bother my back at all. In fact it might actually be alleviating some pressure. I read in Sarah’s book about pulling up to the bar and then holding for several seconds, then slowly lowering myself. Believe it or not my stomach was sore the next day from doing that! I’ve also incorporated some squats with just my body weight. And now I’m thinking about adding some push ups, which I hate, but I know it’s a good total body workout and good for strengthening my core.
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On the part about sprinting you mention doing 2 minutes of sprinting in 20 seconds intervals. My question is how long to you rest between the 20 seconds. Is it just stopping and starting again or should it be longer?
We usually say, “Rest until you catch your breath.” A minute or two should do it.
I can’t afford to go to a gym so I workout in my basement and just use free weights right now. My question is after I do my mobility and then my WOD, then do I work on a particular lift and if so how many should I do of that lift. I know the main lifts are squats, dead-lift, bench-press and pullups I am just not sure when to really do them.
We would recommend a little different order. Warm up, heavy lift, metabolic conditioning (WOD), then mobility. The heavy lift gets priority over the metcon, and we don’t recommend metcons for everyone. I can’t really tell you exactly how many reps and sets you should be doing of each lift because some periodized variety is best and I have not seen your form, nor do I know your goals. Unfortunately, these things are a little too specific for blog posts and podcasts, which is why we felt the need to create this site.