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Bodybuilding: Stop doing it if your back hurts

 Bodybuilding: stop doing it if your back hurts.

In some cases, bodybuilding-style training for back pain might be holding you back from recovery. For example, some strength athletes who come to me injured assume that ‘going lighter’ and doing SINGLE JOINT ISOLATION BB work will allow them to heal. This is the case sometimes; other times, it’s keeping them in pain.

But bodybuilding doesn’t hurt me.

Also, just because it doesn’t hurt during the movement doesn’t mean you aren’t picking the scab. What do I mean by ‘picking the scab?’ You are creating motions, postures, or pressures that are part of your injury mechanism(s) and delaying the healing of your tissue. The process of picking the scab can be cumulative, meaning it happens over a period of time.

Everyone is different – some can bodybuild just fine.

Some people can get away with doing more and still heal; others cannot. Each injury and its mechanism is unique to the person. You cannot compare your injury to others if it’s not the same. One must also consider the goal and the miles of an individual’s body. Finally, you must make the call or have a professional help guide you. You can book a video call with me here: Video consults with Brian Carroll.

My closing thoughts on bodybuilding

My suggestion is if you still have back pain and you’re training to back off and let your body heal. We outline great ways to restore the spine in Gift of Injury and McGill’s Back Mechanic. I tried to do as much as possible while trying to heal and thought I was OK to continue training as long as it didn’t hurt me at the time, but I always woke up the next day worse. So start as Back Mechanic guides you by removing the cause, then progress with pain-free core work and walking, increasing as your body allows it.

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Brian Carroll

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Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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