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Push-ups and low back pain

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  • Push-ups and low back pain

    This is a tough one. And very discouraging for me.

    Started my primal journey a few months ago. been slowly making progress.

    I have a history of back problems- extruded disc at L5S1. managed to stay out of surgery with a variety of methods, and recently got with a chiropractor and been making good strides.

    Of course, when it comes to LHT, I have to be very careful.

    Recently, I came across the 100 push-ups challenge method (linked from this board). Never been a huge fan of push-ups, but suddenly I'm making huge increases in my max. Could never break the 30 threshold- now I'm cranking out close to 50 and I'm only 3 weeks into the program. Chest is more chiseled, core getting stronger, etc.

    However, my back pain recently came back with a vengeance this week. And I noticed it's hurting more on my heavy push-up days. Getting stabbing and soreness in low back, stabbing pain in periformis muscles on each side, etc.

    My back is laser-straight for push-ups, my form is army-perfect... but I'm starting to suspect this is from the push-ups. Not 100% sure, but that's the only major change I've made recently-- performing a ton of push-ups.

    ):

    Was really looking forward to reaching 100.

    Anyone else dealt with this?

  • #2
    are you doing any other exercises?
    Currently dabbling in: IF, leangains, Starting Strength, 5/3/1

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    • #3
      Sounds like you need to look at some exercises to strengthen your core and back.

      As a suggestion, consider looking at youtube for 'Convict Conditioning' and look at the progressions for core exercises.
      Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pacificBeef View Post
        are you doing any other exercises?
        Yes, I'm doing sprints and a lot of sledgehammer work with LHT, and occasionally a bulgarian training bag. However, I've been substituting mostly push-ups "only" on my LHT days the past few weeks to reach to 100 goal.

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        • #5
          I had the same issue after doing push ups the other day, but I think it was related to my form. I am interested to see what others say though. I hope you get it figured out soon!
          My new blog! http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread37215.html Come see me!

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          • #6
            Astronmr20, I know how you feel. Seems like half the people I know have some problem with the L5-S1 disc. I did too and at one point it was so bad that my right leg started going weak. Pain was excruciating to the point that I could barely move sometimes. It's pretty much all better now, though.

            There was a recent thread on a similar topic where I posted what worked for me. Other people had some very good recommendations too. Hope this helps:

            http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...tml#post575611

            Diploid has a good point that your core could probably use some strengthening. You might do well to replace the pushups with planks for now.

            And good for you on the sledgehammer workouts. Best recovery exercise evar.

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            • #7
              Back problems are strange- they often start with one thing, but don't actually hurt until something else triggers it.

              Personally, I would be more likely to hurt myself doing sledgehammer workouts or sandbag than pushups, because of the twisting and unevenness of the exercises.

              I would recommend rest for your back, then basic core work like planks. In the future I would also recommend Convict Conditioning, though there are other books like Foundation that are recommended for fixing back problems.

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              • #8
                DoAFounder's Channel - YouTube

                Back strengthening exercises

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                • #9
                  Dependingon your footfall, sprinting could also be causing your back pain
                  Currently dabbling in: IF, leangains, Starting Strength, 5/3/1

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                  • #10
                    Do you stretch your hip flexors out much? Nasty hip flexors will inhibit glute max contraction placing increased load on the SI joint. So if this is the case I'd say take a rest on the push-ups for a couple days, stretch out the hip flexors as much as possible with the Mobility WOD couch stretch, then try the push ups again. See what happens.

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                    • #11
                      I have a history of lower back pain, including throwing my back out starting at the age of 12. Not fun. Recently, I decided that I will never again do a fully extended leg pushup. Every time I do it, the next day my back is a mess. So no more. I do the bent-knee modifier, and I'm pleased with that.

                      However, I'm trying burpees with fully extended legs; we'll see how that goes. There's a fine line between stubborn and stupid, and I don't want to cross it.
                      F, 44 years old, 111.8 lbs, 4 feet 11.5 inches (yes, that half inch matters!)

                      **1st place sparring, AAU TKD regional qualifier, 2/15/15 - It's damn good to hit like a girl!**

                      **First-ever 5K race 11/28/13: 37 minutes, 18+ seconds, no stopping**

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                      • #12
                        THE DONE IN ONE PROTOCOL REVISITED

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by astronmr20 View Post
                          Yes, I'm doing sprints and a lot of sledgehammer work with LHT, and occasionally a bulgarian training bag. However, I've been substituting mostly push-ups "only" on my LHT days the past few weeks to reach to 100 goal.
                          The issue may be from the sledgehammer work but you only notice it with the push-ups. This generally causees violent contractions of the core and especially the back. I personally wouldn't put a client on sledgehammer work if they have previous back issues. Try eliminating the hammer work and see if it helps.

                          The core (back and abs) have to work hard to maintain your perfect form during the push-ups. If some other exercises aggravate the back you will likely notice it during the push-ups. You might try changing any exercises that have the potential to cause back issues. If the issues continue after that drop the push-up workouts to only two per week rather than three. This will give your back some extra rest. As others have mentioned, add in some mobility work with focus on this hips, low back, and knees. Also, if you perform direct work for the low back such as back extensions don't do these any more than twice per week. Usually once per week is even better.


                          Steve

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JackieKessler View Post
                            I have a history of lower back pain, including throwing my back out starting at the age of 12. Not fun. Recently, I decided that I will never again do a fully extended leg pushup. Every time I do it, the next day my back is a mess. So no more. I do the bent-knee modifier, and I'm pleased with that.
                            Bent knee push-ups have been known to cause more back issues than regular versions. In fact some trainers don't recommend the knee variation for this reason. Alwyn Cosgrove, a well known trainer says that if someone can't perform a regular push-up they should perform wall push-ups or desktop push-ups but never knee push-ups. If a person finds that knee push-ups reduce back pain this is an obvious sign of a core weakness issue. My suggestion would be to perform wall or desktop push-ups and supplement in some direct core work (both abs and back).


                            Steve

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