Author Topic: Lower back pain and ab training?  (Read 7444 times)

galain

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Lower back pain and ab training?
« on: November 11, 2018, 05:20:05 AM »
looking for advice guys.

I've always trained abs - the last 15 years or so mainly with hanging leg raises because I find they work really well for me. I usually added cable crunches as well. I've also always trained lower back. I've had lower back issues for some time so I'm pretty careful with it but I don't want to ignore it.

last year I started doing straight legged hanging leg raises - slowly up as high as I could go and then slowly down again. Kicked my ass, but I worked up to 3 x 20 reps on this exercise and after years of training, they made a very noticeable difference. It was a real (pleasant) surprise to see my body respond so well after so many years of training.

I noticed though that my lower back started getting worse around 6 months ago.

I saw 4 different physiotherapists who all advised me to stop all ab training. I didn't want to, but eventually it was an orthopedic surgeon who told me my abs were too strong for my lower back and I needed to decide if I wanted to be pain free or have a six pack.

Has anyone else experienced this and if so, how did you work around it? I haven't trained abs for about 6 weeks now, and I'm still in pain. I'd love to go back to the straight legged hanging raises but I don't think I should. I was also told the cable crunches aren't doing me any favours either.

none of the therapists looked like they exercised much.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

oldtimer1

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2018, 08:35:12 AM »
Not a doctor but here are my thoughts. Any exercise that is causing pain should be eliminated.  I know we all have favorites that have worked in the past. I loved the bench but I can't do it anymore. My shoulder screams. Surprisingly I can dumbbell bench. I've been using it in place of the bench. Same with the pulldown. I got a supinated M.A.G bar and zero pain. You can find a substitute for every exercise.

Have you tried an old fashion cheap ab wheel? When the actual ab muscles work it's almost an isometric protective muscle. It has a very short stroke. Most ab exercises are exercising the hip flexors that attach to the spine. Try the ab wheel. You can pick it up at any walmart or amazon for practically nothing. Start at your knees and roll out and back. Willing to bet your abs will be sore as hell the next day.  When you get really good you can roll out from the standing position.

Another exercise that I believe will protect your lower back is the crunch. It has been getting a lot of bad press lately but everyone I see does it incorrectly. They just yank their neck up and down. That's not the movement. It's picking your upper back off the floor contraction the abs. I put my legs up on a bench and light plate behind my head on a soft mat.  

I also do cable crunches maybe in a non traditional way. Sitting reverse in a pulldown machine I grab a V handle at the back of head. From that seated position I crunch down.  I use high reps of 20-30.  

What I'm trying to point out is that if hanging leg is yanking your back out then drop it. Use alternatives and you might find your abs get very sore after using alternatives. Abs are shown through diet.  Everyone has abs but they are not seen because of fat.

Regarding the lower back what I do might not work for you. It might make the problem worse.  I use semi locked stiff leg deadlift off a block. I do these very slow and controlled. I go low to stretch the hamstrings or bicep femoris for the guys that took a week internet training course. I use this in conjunction with the back extension. The new 45 degree hyper extension benches stink. The resistance drops off near the top of the movement. I use the traditional horizontal type pictured. I don't go as high as the guy pictured. My lower back is just about bullet proof.

galain

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2018, 12:41:36 AM »
Thanks oldtimer! for taking the time to write all that. I've never tried an ab wheel but I may well pick one up. Since I was a kid I've always associated them with those late night tv commercials and fat housewives - but I know they have a very dedicated bunch of users as well.

I'm also a fan of the stiff legged deadlift for lower back - been doing them with the extensions for years. Yeah - it's hard to let an exercise go that has given you fantastic results but it is what it is, especially as I'm rapidly running into 50. Got to be smarter these days. I appreciate your response - thank you again.

oldtimer1

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2018, 12:46:31 PM »
That ab wheel will kick your ass. I doubt many chubby housewives are capable of using it. Another point is you should use your hanging ab straps not for leg raises but to hang for 20 seconds to decompress the spine.

galain

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2018, 01:24:28 AM »
Another point is you should use your hanging ab straps not for leg raises but to hand for 20 seconds to decompress the spine.

Every time I'm in the gym mate. I hang for 3-5 minutes before I get started and again once I'm done.

Didn't pick up an ab wheel yet but I've been experimenting just rolling a normal olympic bar out and back with two plates on either side. New DOMS all over the place!

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2018, 10:12:15 AM »
1. Limit your rectus abdominus work. To much flexion in the lower spine leads to more problems.

2. Activation and strengthening of the PSOAS. This is usually a huge contributor to back pain that very few address.

3. More Transverse abdominus strengthing by way of anti-rotation core movements

4. Train more of the internal/external obliques by way of anti-rotation movements.

5. Again, limit flexion to the lower back

Examples of anti-rotation exercises

1. Lying Pallof Press and hold w/band or cable

2. Standing Pallof Press in split squat position w/band or cable

3. Dead Bugs

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Gregzs

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2020, 06:36:57 PM »
6 Best Lower Back Exercises: Back Mobility Routine


NaturalWonder83

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2021, 04:08:41 PM »
Foam rolling the obliques can possibly help in back pain
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jpm101

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Re: Lower back pain and ab training?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2021, 09:45:49 AM »
I have no medical degrees, but have had experience with sports training injuries of others over the years. Also a personal experience with lower back (#3-4 disc) surgery while in college and recovery rehab'ing.

The lower back and the ab wall act together.  Hence one will affect the other in functioning. Important that each is balance to strength and development.

Galain didn't mention his full training agenda, which may have an influence on his  lower back problem also. Galain had mention the SLDL. I might suggest replacing that movement for a bit and adjust to Romanian Dl's.  Check out youtube or other sources to do it correctly.

I will place my toes on a 2x4 for an extra stretch  and general warmup for the chain of back muscles, hams & back. Using higher reps, lighter weight on the SLDL, GoodMornings or whatever exercise I choose. Sometime I'll clasp my hands behind my back and use no weight, feeling for a total stretch. Keeping the back straight, never rounded.

The Ab wheel is a very functional device for total Ab development (upper/lower and obliques). But some complain of the pressure on the lower back when using the device. Going to have to be your own judge when using it. We all respond differently to any exercise. 

The ab's are a short range contraction muscle. Most short range contraction muscles are very powerful. Important the the lower back is not overcome by a much stronger ab wall. The doctor offered good advise, appears that you may have an imbalance.

Might suggest Ab crunches, lying on the floor with the legs drawn up (no weight).   Try to feel not only the upper abs, but try contracting the lower abs also at the same time. This is when the mind come into play, a important element most BB'er have long forgotten. That would be total contraction the the complete ab wall, upper and lower.   Hold that total contraction for three seconds, counted as one rep.  Don't just want to rep out, but make every rep count. Taking a break from handing leg raise may be it's own reward for you.

Good Luck.

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