If you read part 1 of this you know that I ended up hurting my back or should I say, I ended up doing something to my back that sounded like bubble-wrap.
After I finished my session I did some glute activation bridges with a dumbell across my lap and this made my back pain go away some, but I was still in discomfort. It wasn’t until 2 days later that my wife asked how my back felt and asked if she could take a look.
I took off my shirt and tried to pretend that I wasn’t flexing or sucking in my gut when she looked at my back and said “There is seriously something wrong there. It looks like an alien trying to come out the side of your back. You NEED to get that looked at!”
I agreed and scheduled a consultation with my chiropractor. What did he find?
- The sound I heard was more than likely torn ligaments.
- Partially torn erector/multifidi
- Left hip is slightly higher than the right, contributing to the uneven pressure and awkward pulling of my back muscles.
- Left knee pain which I had previously experienced was getting progressively worse after my back injury. Very overactive left hamstring and underactive right and left quadracpets.
- Underactive glute medius, greater on the left, contributing to my knee issues
- Underactive abdominal muscles, causing my back muscles to overwork and be exposed as they are not supported.
- My over/under grip on the bar was never alternated. Right hand always on top and left hand always underhand. This lead to an awkward and uneven pull on my oblique muscles which also contributed to an uneven back musculature.
What was my regimine? What did I do to help correct my imbalances and even improve on the strength I had prior to injury?
- 2-3 days per week for 6 weeks of physical therapy. Physical therapy consisted of accupuncture treatments in my lower back as well as e-stem electrical stimulation, manual therapy (massage), core and abdominal strengthening as well as lower back hypertrophy.
- Glute activation exercises – These were a huge part to my rehab. I started doing them at the clinic during my rehab and then added these exercises 3-4 days per week and performed them at home. Sometimes I would just clinch my back end as I sat in a chair but most of the time this work was either a weighted glute bridge or a glute activation stance: Legs slightly wider than shoulder width, knees bent. Slightly swaying left to right and then right to left As I move to each side I would move far enough so that my opposite foot rose slightly off the ground. This one looked very bizarre, but if you can do it for 3 minutes or more and keep that stance you will feel a tremendous burn in your glute medius.
- Abdominal exercises – I performed these two to three days per week. Each session usually consisted of 2 to 3 exercises, 2 to 3 sets each. Exercises included regular planks, side planks, captains chair, multiple variations of swiss ball crunches and movements as well as several variations of floor crunches and cable crunches. Reps were fairly high, 10 or more.
- Massage therapy – Every two week to a month I would get a deep tissue massage with focus on working my low back and glute area. Looking back I think I would have done this every week if I went through this injury again.
- I completely rethought my deadlift setup, corrected what was wrong and focussed on finding a new, solid form.
After three months I was able to pull 300 lbs. My confidence started to grow.
By four months I had set a new deadlift PR of 375 and a new bench press PR of 300.
It has been a ton of work but more than worth it. This entire experience has made me a stronger lifter and has increased my mental toughness as well. I plan to use what I have learned to take my lifts to even higher levels and most importantly, help others do the same.