Well, for you to stay strong and get yourself back where you want to be, here are a few tips to get you moving in the right direction – the right way!
- Life’s a marathon, not a sprint: Injuries take time to heal and the first thing you need to remember is that your life is a marathon and that old adage slow and steady wins the race can’t be more true than after a lower back injury. You don’t need to jump in and go hard as soon as you don’t feel pain. Take it easy, slow down and remember you have time.
- Focus on limbering up: How many of us can admit that stretching hasn’t always been a top priority in our workouts. The problem is that most injuries are the result of poor stretching habits that limit our movements. Before you jump into your regular routine you’ll be keeping things light, but I recommend taking extra time each day to practice controlled and slow stretching movements to get, not only your back, but your whole body into a limber state that will strengthen and improve your flexibility.
- Stay away from jarring actions: Are you a fan of plyometrics? Do you like to sprint? Even if you play a sport that will spontaneously twist your torso, you’ll want to stay away. Trust me, basketball and tennis players are cringing at not being able to hit the courts as soon as the pain is gone. But, those motions will hit you hard and the consequences will last much longer than the few weeks you move to a lower impact routine.
- Low weights, high reps and lots of control: You might like testing your gains every couple weeks, but with a lower back injury you’re likely to put yourself in a bad predicament by trying to put up 200 lbs on the bench. When you are ready – you know, after the doctors says go for it – start weight training with low weight and high reps. But, more important is maintaining a slow and controlled movement, making sure that you aren’t speed-racing through your routine. It will be more important than ever to ensure you are lifting properly and not irritating your injury.
- Head to the pool: Swimming isn’t the only thing you can do in a pool. In fact, more people are looking to the pool to workout after a big injury than ever before. It allows for liquid and controlled movements, but most importantly the pool will provide support and balance when you need it most.
Don’t be afraid to rest: Sure, you’ve already been away from the gym for weeks or even months. But, if you feel pain or stiffness, don’t be afraid to call it a day and take a break. Relax in a jacuzzi or warm bath can feel great.