The Body of An Athlete – But the Spine of a Weakling?

Calling my lower back “dodgy” is an understatement. I suffered a major back injury close to 20 years ago.

Although, I have figured out how to stop it from hurting, it is still a major weak link. I avoid certain activities and I have to be overly cautious, otherwise I am asking for a nagging injury followed by 3 months of major pain. I used to think just “not hurting” was an acceptable level, but my spine is simply too fragile for my liking.

Instead of just settling, I plan on working my butt off to make it a strong point. I believe back pain is the most miserable thing in the world and hopefully these tips help people with this nagging problem.

Spine-Injury - Copy

[Car accidents account for a large percentage of back injuries. There are ways to strengthen your spinal column to make it less likely to experience trauma in an accident.]

Stuart McGill Solved My Back Pain Problem for Good!

I already have a 3 part post on how to conquer back pain (I’ll summarize some of that info in this post). Before reading Stuart McGill’s acclaimed book “Low Back Disorders” I was doing many things that were making a bad problem worse.

I aggravated that injury over and over again and it was an endless cycle of pain. Every time I re-injured my back it was 2-3 months of misery. I have been without pain now for the past 5-7 years and here is how I accomplished that.

Avoid Anything that Rounds the Lower Back

No crunches, avoid all knee-to-chest stretches, no toe touches, no sit and reach stretches…in fact avoid rounding the spine forward at all on purpose. I will never do Yoga or Pilates because there are way too many movements that involve rounding of the spine.

I never purposely round the spine forward and it has been life changing.

I am so grateful to Stuart McGill for explaining over hundreds of pages why flexing the spine forward is asking for pain. Here are some pictures of common movements to avoid.

Avoid “Sit and Reach” Stretches
[These weaken the lower back over time and increase your chance of a lower back injury. One leg is bad and doing two legs at a time is probably even worse.]

Avoid All Types of Crunches
[I think people can probably get away with doing crunches for a short period of time, but this is not a movement you want to do long term. It isn’t even a great way to get nice looking abs. If you have ever suffered a lower back injury these are probably off limits.]

Avoid Knee to Chest Stretches
Knee to Chest Stretch
[I used to do these because they felt good on my lower back. Unfortunately they were keeping my lower back from being stable and were contributing to future injuries.]

Avoid These Types of Yoga Movements

[I believe this is called “The Plow”. There are several Yoga movements that round your spine to the extreme. This is really bad when trying to stabilize and protect your lower back.]

Do you sense a pattern?

I could list another 20-30 examples with photos.

The main thing is that you are to avoid rounding your lower back on purpose if lower back pain has been a problem in the past.

I would even go as far to say to avoid this even if you have never suffered a lower back injury…but that is just because I know how miserable back pain can be. If you take my advice, you will experience less and less back pain over time.

So I Told You What To Avoid, Now What?

A gentleman by the name of Eric Wong contacted me after reading an earlier 3 part post I did on “conquering back pain”. He actually studied under Dr. Stuart McGill (the guy who wrote “Low Back Disorders”) at the University of Waterloo.

Small world! Anyway, in addition to studying under the best low back research scientist in he world, he spent another two years learning from Paul Check…one of the top corrective exercise specialists in the world.

So Eric not only knows how to avoid back pain, he knows what to do to get that spine back to full health. This is where my knowledge has been lacking…because as the title of this article suggests…I have the spine of a weakling!

Here’s a Picture of Eric Wong
[Eric is mostly known for training MMA fighters…and less known for his knowledge on back rehabilitation. This guy is in incredible condition as well. I did quite a bit of research on Google and he’s very well respected in the MMA world.]

A Nasty Scar on His Back from Back Surgery Gone Wrong

Eric overcame a terrible back injury when he was in high-school and has a crazy scar to prove it. Worse than that…the surgery had major complications.

He understands how back pain can rule your life and what to do to correct that pain. He sent me an e-mail late last week and informed me that he is giving away his “DAMAGE Control Routine” for free for a limited time.

It will eventually only be included in a paid product but he is giving it away for free for people who go over to this page from Monday, March 29th – Thursday, April 1st.

This routine is comprehensive so it will be delivered in PDF’s and videos over a period of a week or two. I just signed up to receive the first PDF and I am simply excited to see the rest of the Damage Control Routine (great name).

Note: You guys are probably wise enough to realize that Eric is giving away part of his course for free in hopes that you will like it enough to consider his full paid course when he launches it.

Even if you have no plans on purchasing anything it still makes sense to go over to the page and get this free info. Eric is one of the good guys online and gets satisfaction from helping people whether they buy anything from him or not.

75 thoughts on “The Body of An Athlete – But the Spine of a Weakling?”

  1. With havin so much written content do you ever run
    into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation?
    My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any methods to help stop content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  2. It is a well spoken fact that stretching and exercise does wonders for someone with sciatica. The stretching and exercise relaxes the muscles and that in many cases release the pinched nerve

  3. I fell from quite a high ledge when i was only 2 years old, which twisted my vertebrae. From the age of 13 I had terrible back problems with growth pulling me in different directions. At 17 I saw a chiropractor in Jamaica and he mentioned that it looks like i fell as a child and probably suffered in my teen years. I rang up my mum to confirm this and the chiropractor was spot on. He told me with the chiropractic treatment I would be hunch backed by 40. Up until recently I had this horrible thought at the back of my mind, but after coming across the bridges exercise I have actually straighted out and grown an inch at 22. Click on the following link to be taken to my review of convict conditioning which i feel set me on my way to recovery…bestbodyweightexercise

  4. Lower back pain certainly does reduce your capacity for doing some exercises. Physiotherapy definitely helps but it is hard to get back to 100% movement.

  5. WHAT ABOUT THIS? I recently worked out doing wighted squats on the Smith machine. I t was only about 50lbs but I wasnt really used to it. Then I did raised calf lifts where the shoulder pads rest obviously on ur shoulders. I used more weight there like over 100lbs.

    Long story short… lower back pain that night in my sleep. So do u have to work up to it or are those just bad exercises for the spine and lower back?

  6. Great article and the responses are equally informative. I personally would seek medical advice and or undertake a formal assessment before commencing any program. I think you might agree with my view!

  7. Back injuries are amongst the worst and most difficult for many to correct. Ensuring a good medical treater and physical exercise that is supported by your Doctor is a great start to recovery.

  8. It seems so simple to avoid certain things, but so often we just assume that the pain is normal. Great advice!

  9. Interesting but also difficult to follow as you need to bend at the back to do a lot of everyday things such as putting on shoes and doing up your laces.

  10. I have a good friend who has back pain.It bring many sorrows to her life. If you have the same sufferings,you have protect your back well and avoid improper gestures

  11. “The main thing is that you are to avoid rounding your lower back on purpose if lower back pain has been a problem in the past. I would even go as far to say to avoid this even if you have never suffered a lower back injury…”

    As a 39-year old man (with no pre-existing back problems…thank God) who incorporates yoga poses daily into my stretching routine, I agree with the first part of your statement. However, yoga is excellent for spine flexibility. I think the real issue is that men should be encouraged to start flexibility training earlier in life, and take some of the focus off of heavy lifting. We have a lot of 35+ guys out there who are strong…and stiff. Once I started focusing more on flexibility and less on heavy lifting a few years back, it made all of the difference for my lower back.

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