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At last, I feel good again

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
A couple weeks ago something snapped back in to alignment. I feel the best I have for a full year. I herniated a disc last September 2002. I have been very careful for a year, in the gym at least. (The separated ribs, shoulder, road rash scars and misc. gashes and bruises are not relevent to this topic.) I decided to focus on training specifically for cycling, road and mtb. I never felt good all year.

With a renewed enthusiasm for skiing this year, I decided to ease back into a skiing specific strength and conditioning program. For me that means a lot of power lifts like power cleans, jerk press and snatch a couple times a week. I also started running and some other plyometric exercises. I was very careful easing into this. For weeks I thought my back had been permanantly damaged to the point that I would never be able to do these kind of activities again. I was depressed but not ready to give up. I made some minor modifications to the exercises like doing the power lifts from raised blocks. I also took a recovery week of light loads due to illness. The following week I felt great and I have felt great ever since. I am adding weight to my lifts (gradually). My back feels the best it has all year. I feel good on the bikes as well.

I have come to the conclusion that the best strength and conditioning program for me is one that emphasizes power, speed and agility. This kind of program makes an extraordinary difference for my enjoyment of skiing. It may not be significant to my cycling but the efficacy of any strength training related to cycling is questionable anyway.

I am just so happy to be feeling good again.
post #2 of 10
This is good to hear. Just keep in mind that power training requires enormous core stability. Since you herniated a disc last year, your transverse abdominal muscle is probably your weakest link.
Some interesting research was done in Australia by Paul Hodges. He found that people who did not have low back problem activated their transverse abdominal muscle a fraction of a second prior to contracting another muscle group. People with back problems activated their transverse after the muscle contraction, or in some cases, not at all.
People who do high repetition crunches often overtrain the rectus abdominus, which is the superficial abdominal muscle. As a result, the transverse stops activating.

Be sure to add some abdominal work that requires core estability, not just core strength.
Remember, you can't fire a cannon from a canoe!
post #3 of 10
I don't know what LM is talking about because you certainly can fire a cannon from a canoe! Now if staying upright is a priority.......? Same for skiing, there's lots of stuff you can do and not do but if staying upright enters the mix... it all changes.

It's funny how sometimes you have to get something back to realize how much you missed. One of those little pops and suddenly, Yeah! that what it's supposed to feel like.

I don't think the efficacy of strength training for cycling is all that questionable. There is a lot of strain put on your whole back and strengthening the core can prevent a lot of problems as can helping to maintain balance between hamstrings/quads, chest to balance the strain the upper back goes through supporting your weight hours on end. Let's not forget shoulder strength while you struggle to maintain balance on the mountain bike on a technical uphill or downhill.

You should think back to what was new to your routine the week before your back felt better. That's probably the one that brought back the muscle balance and/or core stability that let everything get back in place.

That's interesting about the delay or lack of activation of the transverse abs and how you can train yourself to activate the wrong muscles. Probably a good thing those electric impulse belts didn't work or they might have been disabling lots of users with enough time.
post #4 of 10

Can you reccommend any ab excercises good for a REALLY bad lower back? Everytime I try to do any type of leg raises or crunches, I desperately need to see my chiro the next day (I get shooting pains withing 5-10 lifts). Skiing doesn't bother my back as much as the rotation of the golf swing does, but these excercises are killing me.

I also tried the skier squats you suggested but that really flared up my low back/left hip/sciatic nerve so I may be leaving that off the list for awhile.

Thanks for any input and sorry for the threadjack [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #5 of 10
Thanks Frenchie I'll give those a try.
post #6 of 10
Good choices! Keep in mind, the sensation you get when using your deep core muscles is infinitely more subtle than what you feel when doing traditional crunches. Although its somewhat difficult to describe, you should feel a lifting and lengthening sensation, as opposed to a burn. This is somewhat related to Rotos thread in Technique, entitled "Functional Tension".

Step 1 would be to simply acivate the muscle with the 4-point drawing in maneuver:

On your hands and knees, shoulders relaxed, hips over knees, not heels

Begin below the belly button. Start to draw your deep core muscles up and in, as if you were pulling up a zipper. IMPORTANT! This is NOT the "cat" exercise. There should be no spinal movement whatsoever. You can practice 10 second core activations all throughout the day, in any position.

The next execise is either called tripod or quadriped. Extend your right leg and left arm, then your left leg and right arm. If your core is sufficiently activated, you will not sway from side to side

Continue with the body plank and side plank that Frenchie showed you.

Turn over on to your back for the dead bug exercise.
Knees bent in a table top position, shins parallel to ceiling
calfs paralell to floor
Knees lined up with pelvis, not chest.
Spine should remain imprinted into floor
Lower one leg, keeping it BENT, only as low as you can go with no spinal movement
Return, and repeat on the other leg

This will feel extremely subtle at first. Ironically, people who are more in touch with their deep core will feel this more than novices.

When developing a power program, think of a pyramid.
Stabilization is at the Base
Strength is the next Block
Power is at the Apex

Trying to develop power without a base of stabilization and strength invariably leads to injury.

[ November 04, 2003, 06:43 AM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #7 of 10
The question was not directed at me but I can suggest 2 exercises. First, I would assume that you have seen your doctor and that you have no bulging disk or slipped disk. If not, see your doctor. Any leg raise is not a good idea as it involve the illio-psoas and its origin is on the lower vertebra of the spine.

Those are isometric exercises which are good to increase your strength without causing too much inflamation. The first one is a bodyplank. Here is a video illustration of the exercises. I stongly advise you to modify those into 3 variation that you can build up to. 1)Start on your knee and elbow, when you can hold this position for 2 minutes move on to the next variation, 2) on your elbow with your knee off the ground. When you can do it for 2 minutes then do as shown in the video. Do not let your back arch at any moment, if you feel pressure in the lower back contract the abs tighter and thrust the pelvis foward in a way that would reduce lombard curve slightly.
Following the discussion on copyright on another thread I decided to removed the hotlinks to the videos.

Go to this link click on exercises video on the left then on core/torso exercises. The 2 videos are under the straight arm series.

[ November 06, 2003, 10:56 AM: Message edited by: Frenchie ]
post #8 of 10
I also second LM choice. Those are great and as usual she puts great details on the proper execution. Epicski member, consider yourself lucky to have someone around with this dedication.
post #9 of 10
And Frenchie too. ACSM is an upper level fitness certification.
Hey Frenchie, if Epicski buys out Bear Mountain, maybe we can take over that NESTA place that does one day "certifications" and turn it into a REAL mountain fitness training center!
post #10 of 10
Thanks to both of you. Those are not as easy as the appear. I though 2 minutes? No sweat...then violent shakes occured about 30 seconds in, lol. I've got something to work on now.
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