What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. Bulging discs, herniated discs, ruptured discs,
bad backs, blown-out backs, you’ve heard all the terms before, but what does it actually
mean? Today I want to show you guys exactly what
it means right here on our skeleton. And more importantly tell you how you can make sure
in your own training that you’re doing the right things, or avoiding
the wrong things, to try to give yourself the best shot of never having this happen
to you. Now right off the bat I think it’s very important
to clarify, bulging discs and herniated discs can happen to anybody at any time. You don’t have to be in the gym to have this
happen. So, that means that any exercise can cause one of these situations to happen. And
it can happen quickly. But there are a few things that will lead
ourselves to this situation much more frequently, and those are the things I want to help fortify
you guys against with this video. So, first of all, let’s take a little bit
of a closer look inside to see exactly what’s going on so you can understand that. And then we’ll come back out of it and talk
about some of the situations that you might want to make sure you’re extra careful of
when you are training. Alright, so let’s go hand-held here so I can
show you exactly what’s going on. What you’ll see here is the spine, ok. We
have series of vertebrae here that stack on top of each other, as you guys probably know. And they’re broken down into the different
levels of the spine that we hear so often, right. Cervical spine from here down through
the neck. And then we have our thoracic spine that comes
down through our midback. And then we have our 5 lumbar vertebrae that make up our lower
back, ok. Now, coming back around to the front. When
we talk about the discs, you can see these brown structures right here in between provide spacing and padding between
our vertebrae when they’re healthy and natural, ok, in a natural state. But what happens is, when we have a herniation,
you can look down here, you actually get a leakage of the material that’s inside the
disc. It’s called the nucleus pulposus, right, as
this thing comes out and squishes out, it literally is like a jelly donut effect. This
would be a nice, intact jelly donut. If you were to squeeze it, then it would bleed
out this inner-disc material that then, as you can see, pushes and hits one of these
nerve roots that then travels down to the, you know, throughout
the body, right, down to our lower extremities. We have different dermatomes that these different
nerve roots run to. So, when we train, if we were to have some
sort of an injury and I’ll cover again what some of these activities might be that could
cause this a little bit more often than others, once you get the leakage, if it’s not touching
on a nerve root, that’s when you have basically a bulging disc, or a herniated disc that may not, again, be
symptomatic because it may not be touching on the nerve root. But as soon as this material right here contacts
the nerve root, you’re going to get symptoms down that dermatome, wherever that might go. And that’s what would explain for some people
that wind up complaining of hip pain or knee pain or thigh pain, or even numbness or tingling down in the toes
because it depends again on what level and what nerve root this is pushing on. Alright, so back in the real world here, what
we really care about as guys lifting are we want to know, what are the activities that
might lead to this situation more often than others. And again, there’s any exercise at any time
that can cause this, but the issue is we want to make sure that we fortify ourselves, as
I said, as much as we can. The first thing, guys, core strength. We need
to know that we have the appropriate core strength. And it’s not just your abs. Guys, please, you guys know that abs alone
are not your core. Your abs are just one portion of your core. Your hips, your lateral trunk flexors, and
stabilizers are going to be incredibly important to contributing to your overall stability. So, Side Planks and other exercises that incorporate
more than just your crunching activities of your abdominal muscles is going to be key
to fortifying that core to make sure you have
the stability of your entire trunk. But that being said, the biggest culprit for creating
one of these herniation in your low back is going to be a combination of flexion and rotation in the
lumbar spine at the same time, and more so, loaded flexion and extension. So what exercise would that naturally be?
That could be a Dead Lift. Now, Dead Lifts are probably one of the best exercises you
could possibly do. Especially as a trainer to athletes, we know
the value of a Dead Lift. The functional value of a Dead Lift is unparalleled. But one of the other areas I’ve covered on
the squats before is the positioning of the hips. So when I take this dowel in front of
me, if you’re Dead Lifting, you have to be very,
very careful that not just your feet are square on the ground, but that your hips are square
as well. So if your feet are lined up straight ahead
here, but my hips are open to here, you can see that. Now, if I go to do my Dead Lift now in that
position, I’m essentially rotated here to the left. So even though it’s a subtle thing,
we are combining flexion with rotation. That would be something you definitely want
to be aware of and alert for to make sure that that’s not happening to you. Next we want to talk about the squat, and
yet again another great exercise obviously for building lower body strength and power. But it is another one that can leave us susceptible
to a lower back issue especially if we already have a predisposing thing going on in our
low back. That’s because you get that tendency to get
a rapid flexion/extension if you have a Butt Wink. We’ve covered why we think that might
happen in other videos. But the Butt Wink is going to be a rapid change
in pelvic position from that anterior tilt to the posterior tilt and then back in the
anterior. And that’s under load, like under load of
the back squat, the weight that you got on your back. That anterior position is fine. It’s when you get to that posterior position
and getting a rapid flexion of your lumbar spine and again, we talked about, it’s one
of the components, minus the rotation that can cause an issue. The same thing I just covered with the Dead
Lift, and the hips are open and not square, you’re going to get a rotary effect of the
pelvis too. So, the Butt Wink with unsquare hips is going
to cause even twice the issues that we might have otherwise. Now, what can we do to try to make sure that
that doesn’t happen to us? Well, first of all, we can work on that Butt
Wink. And secondly, what we can do is, we can work on other versions of squats. I’m a big proponent of single leg squats.
Why? Because they allow us to continue to load up the weight, not have to necessarily
sacrifice our overall strength in our legs which is one of the things that winds up happening
when guys want to drop down the weights on a Back Squat to be able to execute in perfect
form if the Butt Wink is their limiting factor. They might be dropping the weights to levels
that are below that which would challenge your legs and actually help them to continue
to overload. But if you do a single leg version, you might
be able to still tap into your strength and max out on your strength while at the same time protecting the low
back because, and I don’t necessarily mean single leg, I’m talking more about Bulgarian
variations. So, you put your leg up behind you. As soon
as you put your leg behind you, you’re actually flattening the low back. You’re creating a much flatter, much more
stable lumbar spine so when you go down in the flexion, that lumbar spine stays where
it needs to be. And it stays well-supported while again at
the same time not sacrificing the overall strength of your legs and quads while you’re
training your legs. So, guys, again, anything can cause a low
back issue. Anything can cause a disc to herniate or bulge in it’s earlier stages. The thing is, you want to make sure that you’re
doing the things that you can to prevent that from happening by training the right way. At ATHLEANX, as a physical therapist, I put
together a strength/conditioning program that does this. It allows you guys train, and to train hard
and to train at your max. But at the same time, have a healthy respect
for how we’re going to get there and make sure that we do it in a smart way so that we’re eliminating the things that
can happen to you and injure you, and keep you in the gym. Because the only way you’re ever going to
get strong, the only way you’re going to see progressive results is if you stay in that
gym and continue to train day in and day out. Right. So, that’s what we do. That’s over
at ATHLEANX.COM. It’s our complete 90-Day Training Program. In the meantime, if you found this video helpful,
and you see, we bring out the skeleton every time we do, you guys tend to like these videos,
just let me know and I’ll keep making more. And whatever other issues are bothering you,
I’ll try to break him out to explain why it is that that might be happening to make it
a little bit more useful for you. Thanks guys.

100 Replies to “Back Pain + Exercises (HERNIATED DISCS & WEIGHT LIFTING!)”

  1. Hi athleanx ! I have L4/5 slipped disc and I saw some of your video regarding all this back pain that affected me from doing excerise. As you have mentioned from this video any excerise can cause it but cause I still go for running since have slipped disc ? Is it safe for it ?

  2. Hi Jeff,
    As I love your videos and learning a lot from them.
    3 years ago I suffered a L5-S1 Disc Prolapse the required surgery to correct.
    I also have nerve damage with numbness on the outer side of my calf including back of heal plus 3 small toes
    The injury was caused from repetitive lifting and twisting as my job as a scaffolder requires a lot of awkward lifting and twisting at the same time. Pushing your body past its limit points.
    After my surgery I’ve been working on my core strength and over all fitness. I train about 6 days a week with most days I’ll do core exercises. I’m stronger than ever.
    There are only a few exercises I don’t do one of them is the good old Dead Lift. As you said “lifting and twisting is bad” I’m scared of recurring injury if I did this exercise.
    Would you recommend I try Dead lifts? I’m just scared.
    Regards Joe

  3. I was recently diagnosed with a herniated disc in my neck. Are specific lifts I can do that will not aggravate it and are there lifts I should avoid?

  4. For everyone with a herniated disc, check out Jeff's video where he talks about spinal decompression and yoga Cobra movement. Was a huuuuuge improvement for my L5S1 herniated disc and stop stretching. Jeff's advice is spot on
    Read everything you can on spinal decompression. God bless.

  5. my physiotherapist, who was also a professional rugby player, gave me a demanding program of workouts to follow involving squats, lunges, all sort of planks (especially planks with rotation and other easier stabiliser exercises. I have a L4 very bad herniation with lots of pressure on the nerve. I went through hell, not being able to sleep and move properly for months. He saved me and I put on 8 kg on muscles in 5 months… I am even using weights now… not very heavy (15 km for my squats), but as I get stronger I keep adding weight, which is what he recommends. He says that I should never do crunches (I used to to many of them in the past, probably they ruined my back).

  6. All of these videos on relieving sciatica symptoms by educating the public about things like the posas, hip mobility, weak gluts, etc. and raising public awareness about poorly prescribed PT Rx that occur too often & the logic for the wrong Rx & why is not appropriate Rx (ex. knee to chest, lacrosse ball glut smash etc) have been EXTREAMLY HELPFUL. I've been managing my sciatica for over 30 years (17-48 yrs old). I recently (2 yrs ago) suffered an lower back injury in Crossfit doing the snatch into a squat position (too heavy a weight & too much pride). I successfully lifted it o the 5th try, because my pride was heavier than the weight, but strained my back in the process and have been managing the lower back pain & tightness on one side, numb toes and general discomfort for close to 2 years now. I've gone to two PTs in 2 different hospitals on 3 different occasions, BUT after watching my videos on relieving sciatica by understanding that the cause are weak gluts and the other videos, I have found some real solid solutions & relief. Keep up the excellent work with PUTTING SCIENCE BACK INTO FITNESS & STRENGTH TRAINING!

  7. This back problems guide book truly is amazing to me, do a search for Google "Kemzαnο Loni". The plan was the reason why my knees, hips and back are realigned. As I wake up each and every morning, I must say I don`t feel soreness any more. The situation of my knees has extremely enhanced since I started employing this..

  8. Jeff, what is your advice for training legs for people like me who had operation with metal plank installed in their spine due to instability? Doctors said I have weak spinal joints and should not be doing squats and deadlifts, and I really don't know what to do to train my legs anymore. I also did it smart the first time when I got the trauma – but still got it, I was 70 KG at the time, working out hard for 2 years straight, doing my warm-up before squatting with 20*10-40*10-60*5-70*4-80*2 KG and finally doing squats with 85-90 with the right tecnique, but still got trauma and am forbidden by doctors to do any squats or deadlifts now. Any real advice here?

  9. I went to physical therapy for 3 months, it helped for my herniated disc, pain went away. 4 months after, it came back but my leg started going numb, and was diagnosed with piraformis pain syndrome. Got a couple massages to fix it, now I've had pain in my back still with the exercises not helping anymore, for the last 5 months and just got an injection, which did nothing. I'm lost and I was told I would never need surgery, but nothing's helping

  10. Herniated disc is a serious issue, I had it for 2 years and made me depressed, but those gluteus menius exercises that you thought in another video just cured me, ITS GONE, I repeat, THE PAIN IS GONE
    thank you so much and please cover this topic more

  11. My question is will the pain ever go away? I blew a disc when i was 16. I still lift and i have daily pain from when i wake up till i go to sleep.

  12. It's fucking criminal what we do to our backs, and especially those of our children. Sit down for 5 hours a day at school, then go home and sit down for hours of TV? Get fucked

  13. I was weight training at the gym … normally but then I developed a l4 l5 disc buldge. Now I am advice no gym training or heavy exercises. Only walking for 20min to relieve the pain… So how to I tone my legs and arms…

  14. Osteopath helped me – they can crack your spine (in a good way) anyhow after manipulation more blood is able to get to the discs (I believe) as discs normally have a very limited blood supply. So this encourages healing and regeneration of the disc also used with cryotherapy (use of good quality gel packs frozen) – fixed my C4 (CERVICAL DISC 4) I am completely OK now – I had fairly severe nerve impingement but fortunately not herniation of the disc (bulging disc numbness and tingling in left hand/fingers thumb – 80% loss of strength at least at the time for left side of my body for anything involving pushing. It was fairly crap – lost a lot of muscle but once I got healed I was able to start lifting lifting properly again took a while to get back on form but I got there. I believe this was brought on in large part due to my use of a certain prohormone – read some of these things reduce collagen synth – stay away from that garbage – I guess I got lucky and that taught me a lesson to be sure… It is easy to take your health for granted 'til you not got it.

  15. After a few months of looking for a remedy for my back ache, I found this back problems guide called “fonon fetching site” (Google it) and it also worked in my case. Undoubtedly supports in back problems during sleep. I`m surprised by the potency of this particular guideline. This is just what I was searching for..

  16. I got the same injury yesterday while doing deadlift so what should I do now. Should I stop doing deadlift now onwards?

  17. Thanks a lot for these advices. Since this is still a field of disagreement among doctors on wheter you should remain almost on bed rest while in pain (acute phase) or like some say move, exercise etc. What is your opinion? Do you think we should do these streches and core strenghtening exercises right away (as long as we are mobile and can endure the pain) or we should wait. If waiting is the option, how long? What is the key change we should look for in pain and discomfort or mobility when deciding to go back to the gym and our activities?

  18. Hi jeff. Is it adviceable to continue weight training with bulging disc? ( without stressing lower back with workoits like squat, deadlifts, bb rows..)

  19. The first time I snapped my back was because I didn't know how to deadlift. I lifted some heavy crate with rounded back without prior experience with lifting. Since then it re-surfaces here and there … Though Deadlifting with 8-10 rep max along with core work- planks helps. Now it flared up again cause I lifted and twisted with a 10 kg crate at work (so pissed at myself I always picked everything with a form from the floor even a pencil).

  20. Thank you so much for these videos, they’re really helpful as the doctor completely cut me off from any form of lifting :/ I’ve gained weight and it’s depressing. Going to go back to square 1 and focus on my core strength

  21. Heres what you should do:
    #1. Stop it getting worse. Make your core muscles super strong.
    Really focus on good posture.
    Never sit unless you absolutely must.
    Do not lift anything.
    #2. Use your mind best you can to ignore the pain. Easier said than done hey?
    #3. Use external ways to reduce pain.
    Ice Packs.
    Pills as a last resort.

    Hope this helps.

  22. This vedio is ur bgain. Asked u few different times now. In past for my last injury's. But just a man wishful thinking? That's been on comp from sever back injury. Lower rite. Every human over 38. Or younger has them but d ones that's ripped them apart from a Job that's more days harder then taken each work out to fealer.sorry wastein ur time and mine for a response but u do have lots of good info. GOD BLESS. Merry Xmas.

  23. How Can I tall the difference between pain caused by a herniated disc and back tension caused by something else like an old ankle or knee injury?

  24. Hey Jeff, thanks for the video. Recently I got back spasm in my lower back. Doctor suggested me a few exercises but that didn't help. I started gym a few months after and again I got the same problem. Could you share your thoughts to help me get rid of this problem?

  25. In November I hurt my back and had sciatica pain. My chiropractor has been working with me and the pain is nearly all gone. Except now I have mild drop foot. I can move it up about half way. After mri they say I have a herniated disc touching the nerve and they’re recommending surgery. Is it possible with therapy to regain the movement in my foot and reduce the herniated disc?

  26. My back kills me on the regular. It's to the point where I'm giving up squats and lunges which sucks bc this means chicken legs indefinitely.

  27. L5 through S1 at the gym training 2 surgeries later no Joke still not better..smh be careful everyone esp if u already have back issues such as degenerative disc disease…nice video with I knew this then mines popped out right on the nerve in an area they could not get good enough…

  28. Hi! I had a ruptured disc. I am 42. I was very unfit (no muscles) and I was doing crunches (very bad for lower back). My physiotherapist (a former elite athlete) helped me to go from being skinny and unable to bend to being more sort of muscular and flexible. it took time. I do squat and deadlift (romanian deadlifts) but only with 15 -20 kg. The I also do planks, push ups and (with lots of care) Russian twists. I don't feel like loading more. Do you think that lifting light weights is the right way to go for the future? I don't trust lifting more.

  29. Can you exercise with a degenerative disc? Or should I forget the whole Idea of lifting? I was a bodybuilder then I've broken my foot a g tear the muscle too. This cause a lot of imbalance which lead to loss of strength. Then after two month of my foot injury I fell twice cause my ankle is not stable. I fell on my back I didn't felt a sever pain and I complete doing my exercises. After a few months my back starts to hurt. I went to the doctor and after seeing my xray results I did an xray for the whole body cause I was experiencing a chronic neck pain he said that I got a spasm causing my neck and dorsal spine to straightened and a degenerative disc in the lumber area a slight degeneration. Should I stop bodybuilding and hiit workout?or there's something that I can do to fix it and go on with my trainig with modifications so I don't worsen the problem and degenerate the discs even more? I've been suffering for 7 months now and I'm really depressed I don't know what to do? Any idea on stem cells for the ddd is it worth it or it's just a scam? Please I don't want to gave up weight lifting its life for me.

  30. The right side of my lower back feels like it keeps cramping real bad and wakes me up at night.. and it also feels like fluid is building up in the bottom of my stomach. I haven't gone to a doctor yet, because I have no insurance. I'm just hoping it goes away.

  31. I was a heavy weight lifter for a solid 5 years when I started at the age of 14 until I turned 19. At 19 I discovered that I had an L5/S1 herniated disc and the neurologist told me to never ever go to the gym again. As a teenager this was beyond devastating to me. I cried and cried thinking that I lost my future because of this. I wasted my 20's not working out (although swimming and playing soccer and basketball lightly was the exception). Then 7 years later I discovered that I had another L4/L5 herniated disc, which further brought me down despite not weight training at all. Frustrated at how I've physically become, I decided to make matters in my own hands. Now I'm 33 and I've been back to the gym for a couple of months and so far I've never felt this good before in such a long time. I am doing full body workouts in order to get my body in sync and rhythm with the workouts and hopefully work and get a stronger core to start gradually lifting heavy. I'm not planning to lift extremely heavy, I just want to be physically fit and look great without visceral fat. I'm telling you please stay active and do not let any doctor put you down. YOU are the only one responsible for your own fate AND NOT ANYONE ELSE. It's easier said than done I know, I wasted my 20's and 15 years of believing I can't workout in the gym no more but it's better late than never.

  32. I’ve a bulged disc and I’m totally fine with doing squats and any single leg training but I Must not deadlift since lifting anything that heavy off the ground can aggregate that pre-existing injury. Last month I screwed it up once again while doing sprinter lunges!! So, I decided to stick with squats and Bulgarian split squats.

  33. Jeff – Can a herniated disk in the neck, ever be healed? If so, how? (Without having an operation, that is).

  34. Your videos are packed full of excellent advice. This one particularly hit the sweet spot for me. I am 72 and have always been in pretty good health but never really did any serious exercise-training. I started working out with weights mostly just dumbells and a bench and was astounded at the rapid changes in my overall shape and musculature – BUT – four months ago I got some pretty severe back pain and it then became involved with the sciatic nerve – you really don't want to have that. Standing up – walking to the bathroom – etc a real chore. MRI showed a herniated disk. Physical therapy for about six weeks without much change. THEN a got a book – Treat Your Own Back by Dr. Robion McKenzie (deceased). It was the magic elixir for me. It takes about 30 minutes to read it. Has just a few exercises and in 48 hours my problem was gone. it has not come back and I am now exercising with weights again and feel really good. What happened to me is exactly as described in the Athlean-X video. I am convinced that I set myself up driving my motor home for two months for probably 40 hours a week in a really cushy seat that demands horrible posture. That set the stage for the rotating lifting injust as described in the video. I will continue with the daily exercise as described in the book (about three for four minutes a day) and will definitely follow the exercises and stretching recommended in this video. I have no connection to the book, don't care if you try it or not – I will just say that it was exactly what I needed. I am trying to catch up on all of the fabulous Athlean-X videos – it is hard to find such quality and passion on any subject the is explained so well. Thanks for all you are doing.

  35. Hi, I have disc bulge C5 C6 C7 problem also have lot of pain, radiation. Please share exercise for relief this.

  36. I used to do calesthenics 3 years ago…on my 4th month i was almost able to do any move but then i got a lower back injury and stopped woeking out until a month ago. I switched to weigh lifting and feel my lower back is much better thats just me

  37. I thought the spine was the core, but anyway, I did a twisting motion while being like in the dead lift while at work, and it ruined me. I tried a leg press machine after that, and it really made it hurt. I have been using an inversion board for years, but the nerve pain in my hip/leg keeps coming back, and sometimes even in the other leg. Makes it hard to exercise, but got to keep trying.

  38. @Athlean-X do you know of any athletes that have done spinal decompression to fix herinations/bulging discs?

  39. What is a safe bicep exercise to do with a herniated lumbar disk? Google has not been very helpful. I was thinking a modified seated version possibly, but again, I'm just not sure.

  40. This routine is legit. I've had back problems (L4-L5 herniation) since my early 20s as a result of power lifting followed by time in an infantry unit (DDD). Got to the point where I'd tweak something once every couple weeks, be in agony for days, then slowly recover. Since I started this I really haven't had much pain. Completed a relatively strenuous training class two weeks ago that involved running, crawling, jumping with a lot of gear and never really felt it in the spine. Life changing information here.

  41. I think your partner has a problem with his shoulder :/ next video -> how to lift with a dislocated shoulder

  42. the biggest mistake i have made is to do squats, now i got herniated disc. what the heck man, totally regret.

  43. Working at a desk my entire life got me a bulging disk. Now I have to avoid bending and have get up more frequently so for me it was something as simple as that to get me a problem. Now I'm doing gym but I'm really careful with my lifting.

  44. Wow, I looked at your newer videos and you have come a long way. Thanks for great content and for continually stepping up your game!

  45. How long should I wait to lift again after experiencing a herniated disc (from slipping up one rep of squatting with bad form)

    I do not want to prolong the injury or hurt myself more

  46. Did anyone else get numb big toes from basic training? I wonder if it was from the ruck marches causing these herniated discs causing pressure on the nerves

  47. I just discovered I have a dehydrated disc L5, its not still a hernia but its pumping out a little, wich one of your videos should I watch, dr. Told me I should never lift heavy weights again and its reccomending only swimming but I really want to continue lifting but avoiding my problem to get worser, thank you very much if you can answer back

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