I was doing a One-arm Dumbbell Snatch when my lower back gave out. I had barely gotten started with the workout when it happened. But, I knew instantly that I had messed myself up pretty badly.

It has been a long tiresome process of recovering and then reconstructing the foundation of core strength and biomechanics needed to begin lifting again with confidence.

I’d like to share with you the three simple movements that I have used to recover and rebuild. 

We’ve all probably felt that frightening “pop” or “catch” at some point, that moment when our back “gives out.”

It dropped me to my knees. Thankfully it was zero-dark-thirty and I was all by myself in the gym, so I didn’t embarrass myself in front of all our members.

I was so mad at myself! I should know better! For Pete’s sake, I’m a Strength and Conditioning Coach with extensive knowledge and experience coaching people to exercise and lift weights safely. I place an enormous importance on proper form and biomechanics. Yet, there I was, on my knees and then my back squirming to try to relieve an excruciating spasm, vainly hoping I might be able to head it off before it locks me up into a crooked and bent-over invalid for the next couple weeks.

Sure enough, the spasm only intensified and within minutes I was contorted into a grotesque rictus that had me walking sideways like a crab for days.

I had hurt my back before, but this time was especially bad. It has set me back by years. I am lifting loads on my “heavy” days that at one time were what I used to warm up with. But, I’m grateful to be lifting at all and making steady progress.

Like all life’s lessons that humble us, they can be our greatest blessings if we’re willing to learn from them.

I rededicated myself to a meticulous reconstruction of my entire core architecture. That involved a number of adjustments to my training plan.

One that I’d like to share is this trio of core movements. If you’ve been training with us for even a few days, these will be familiar to you.

They are:

  1. Bird Dogs
  2. Side Planks
  3. Hip Bridges

Here is a simple circuit that I incorporate into my training multiple times each week:

One to three rounds of:

  • Bird Dogs – 15-30 seconds each side
  • Side Planks – 15-30 seconds each side
  • Hip Bridge – 30-60 seconds

It is safe and gentle enough that we could do it every day, even multiple times per day. Each of the movements has several progressions or regressions to make them more or less challenging. You can find instructional videos of those on our YouTube  or Vimeo channels.

If you go to those sites to view them, it would be a favor to us if you were to “Follow” us. We’re grateful for your support!

Naturally, there are numerous other movements and protocols that I have used. But, these more than any others have been the most effective.

I hope this has been interesting and useful for you. I’ve inserted the instructional videos below.

Be strong, have fun!

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Paul Reilly

Paul is the Owner and Founder of MidStrong. He created MidStrong in 2017 to train men and women in midlife who are busy with work and family to build muscle and burn fat so they can look and feel better than they did in their 20’s. MidStrong is making Functional Fitness training safe and fun, and inclusive. He and his wife, Julie also own and operate MidStrong locally, their bricks and mortar business, previously called ACCELERATED Strength & Balance. It is a boutique fitness center specializing in training folks in and around Westborough through the challenges of midlife for more than five years.