I tore a disc 3 years ago, I rehabbed it myself and now I have degenerative disc disease. I bought GOI and the Back Mechanic and I’ve been utilizing what I’ve learned. My question is do you think it would be wise to separate my pull days and my accessory days to keep the volume and wear and tear of my lower back to a minimum. Also I’ve been doing sets of only 3 reps (warm ups also) for dead’s because when I go higher in reps it seems to get my lower back to sore for to long. What’s your thoughts on that also? Thank you.
What is most likely happening when you feel your back more when doing more than 3 reps, is your form is simply breaking down on the later reps. I would highly recommend you start videoing your sets and watching them in between so you can see where the break down happens. If you can do 3 without pain, you should be able to find a weight that would allow you to do 4s or 5s so long as you figure out where your breakdown is, however I don’t see an issue with simply building volume with more sets at 3 reps especially if you’re just getting back into it and have more of a technique focus. My gut feeling says you’re probably losing your wedge at some point and that is why you feel your low back.
On the support work, separating the main and accessory work certainly is an option, but I wouldn’t say that this is absolutely necessary simply due to the fact you’ve had an injury. Find movements that don’t aggravate it and then adjust load so that your form doesn’t break down for the session. Remember core endurance, not just strength is a big component of good spine hygiene so having some length in your sessions will have a benefit so long as you remain mindful of your technique.
I am 100% behind what my teammate Andrew is saying. I would reinforce the idea from personal experience on both myself (coming back from spine injury) as well as my applying this to my lifters ,about the importance of avoiding pain triggers in both the main movements and accessory work.
Other options on your sets and reps is to work singles for several sets. For example, 20 sets of 1 gives several reps to set up perfect form and a tight lifters wedge while simultaneously giving you 20 opportunities to train your body to perform on the neurological level. As Andrew said, a form break down due to fatigue is a very plausible reason for pain above 3 reps and both trunk endurance/strength could be a culprit. I personally have found that deadlift and the appropriate accessory work in the same workout has worked wonders. Take note that in spine injury what is optimal for one person may cause pain triggers in others, so be very picky about what you do. Make sure to really identify what works for you and start creating a list of optimal movements as well sets and reps that have the most positive cost to benefit ratio on your spine. Stay pain free and I hope this helps.
I post several of the movements that have helped me come back into Strongman Pain free on both my training log and my Instagram (@thebattleaxegym). Stay safe brother.