I have finished physical therapy for lumbar disc herniations/degenerated discs. I am relatively pain free with some lingering numbness and weakness in the lower right leg. Doctor has cleared me to start getting back in the gym, but cautiously. I have McGill’s books and 10/20/Life but I am unsure on how to go about building a program that suits my purposes. I’ll provide a little background information. Leading up to the injury about 18 months ago (this was actually my second herniation at 32 years old, first was at 19) I was in pretty intense combat sports training. 20-30 hours/week between skill and sport specific conditioning. Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Jujitsu. Competing in amateur kickboxing. Not a lot of strength work during this time. 1-2 days/week I would jump into a group fitness class, the weights were always relatively light. Ran about 6 miles/ week, 2 miles at a time, average mile pace 11:40. Hill sprints 2 times/week. I have a broad background in strength and athletic training, from high school sports, to powerlifting, to crossfit. Nothing at a high level. Best deadlift 505, squat 455, bench 285. Currently weigh about 320, at my heaviest I was around 425, before the injury I was down to 275. I’ve never been on any legitimate, designed program. Longest I have been on any one program is about 6 months. After reading McGill’s books, my training was inevitably going to lead to herniations, especially with my personal and family history with them. Right now I’m just following the protocols in Back Mechanic. I want to get back to combat sports, but I basically need to rebuild my foundation of movement, stability, endurance, strength, etc. I’m currently in a state of information overload after reading a bunch of books, and not sure where to start. Strength is important to me, but obviously concerned about injury prevention. I also need to consider speed, power, anaerobic endurance, aerobic endurance, etc. Currently have a main focus of cutting weight though. I gain and retain muscle relatively easy, gain fat much easier lol. Nutritionally I’m currently in ketosis and a daily caloric intake between 800-1000. Obviously will adjust with training intensity. I will be starting on doctor prescribed and monitored HRT that will include nandrolone for recovery and injury prevention. Kettlebells seem to be a good tool for a wide range of attributes and I already have some. I was looking at combining something like Pavel’s Simple and Sinister with a barbell program. Not sure how to add running back in with the injury history. Any suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated.

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