Written by Joey Argento
Have you ever picked up a piece of paper or gone to tie your shoes and find yourself unable to move on the way back up? That excruciating pain felt in the bent over position within the lower back is quite common. According to Ronald B. Tolchin, doctor in physical medicine and rehabilitation, lower back pain will affect 80% of Americans at least once in their lives.
For many of us fitness fanatics, athletes, powerlifters and bodybuilders this means our training will start to suffer if not completely come to a screeching halt. What if I told you training with a lower back injury does not have to interrupt, interfere or hinder the intensity and/or effectiveness of your workouts – even when training back?
Avoiding Movement Is Not Always The Best Way
Most people who are struck with lower back issues tend to avoid any physical movement involving the back. This is not the most efficient way in healing your back nor is it beneficial to your health since almost all physical movements require the use of the lower back. Training the opposing muscles to your chest and biceps with a lower back injury is not ironic – on the contrary, training will strengthen bones, tendons and muscles as well as provide greater mobility.
In addition, overloading a muscle will pump blood into that designated, injured spot, shuttling many needed nutrients to the muscle and speed up the healing process. That’s besides all the “gains” you won’t be leaving behind…
Cobra Back Workout
This workout will prove that lower back injuries do not have to stop you from achieving that “Cobra” back while inhibiting the venomous pain from slithering in. We must deal with the cards we are delt with and having lower back pain is a very unfortunate card that we can surprisingly work around.
PLEASE NOTE: if the pain you are feeling is intolerable and excruciating, then you must refrain from any physical activity as well as see a doctor or specialist for further instructions and help.
|Pullups**||Failure||4||No rest in between each|
|Hammer strength machine row||15-12-12-10||4||45|
(2 sec contraction at the top)
|20||5||Complete both exercises consecutively|
|Cable face pull**||20||5||30 sec rest once each set is completed|
**Superset: The act of completing two or more exercises consecutively without any rest in between.
You will not see any 5×5 or 8×1 heavy powerlifting in this program to ensure the safest training session possible. Most back workouts will start with the highly coveted, almighty deadlift however this program doesn’t include it at all. Don’t get me wrong – the deadlift is arguably the best exercise a human can perform because it recruits the most amount of muscle fibers and joints.
That being said, it is also one of the most risky exercises we can perform since it involves so many different body parts especially the part in which our nervous system uses to communicate with our bodies. Our spine. The deadlift, if not done with absolute perfect form, can compromise the spine. Even with astonishing form this exercise will put plenty of emphasis (pressure) on the L4 and L5 vertebrae. These two discs are the lowest vertebrae on the lumbar portion of our spine meaning that individuals with lower back issues, injuries or pain must refrain from this exercise in order to prevent further damage.
The spine is one region in which we must do everything in our power to protect because without it functioning at its best, everyday tasks would become limited if not impossible.
The first superset is high in repetitions in order to properly warm up and allow blood to start flowing to the upper and lower back as well as loosen joints. It is important to note that the hyperextensions must be done with lower weight, longer contractions and higher reps since this is the most crucial exercise preparing your lower back for the rest of the workout.
Most workouts start with heavy compound movements since they are the toughest to perform and require the most amount of energy however this workout starts with isolation movements so that the lower back is in the safest position while not risking any injury with an excessive amount of weight. Always start with a lighter weight and assure that back pain remains very minimal if there is at all.
The compound movement in this workout is the DB row. The dumbbell row, unlike the traditional barbell row gives you 3 points of contact (one hand and both legs) Compared to only having your feet on the ground. This will take away the amount of weight you lower back must endure while still overloading the Latissimus Dorsi, aka the Lats. Along with protecting the lower back, this compound movement will increase core stimulation as well as shock the stabilizers in your core and upper back since its being done unilaterally (one arm at a time).
Lastly this workout ends with a Trapezius superset to completely finish off the back in the healthiest and most pain-free way.
Take this workout and implement it into your training regime once or twice a week in order to unleash those back gains while suppressing that reoccurring stubborn back pain.