Returning after a herniated disc

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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cowboyjon
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Returning after a herniated disc

Post by cowboyjon » May 4th, 2021, 8:55 am

4 years ago I was forced to quit the erg with a herniated disc, the year after that I was forced to quit weight lifting altogether as my disc refused to heal.

I took up cycling and didn't look back and my disc has since healed/popped back in. While at the age of 41 with a bunch of injuries behind me I know I will never feel 100% again I have 3 years of recovery behind me and I haven't felt better in at least twice that span of time.

I have always missed the erg though (strange that I don't miss the free weights at all as they were my passion for 10+ years).

I'm booked into our local gym to test my back on their rowing machine (don't think its a concept 2 unfortunately) tonight and I'm pretty excited about getting back into it. I am hoping with everything I have that my back holds up fine.

Has anyone else on here recovered from a herniated disc and gone on to continue their rowing?

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ampire
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by ampire » May 4th, 2021, 1:21 pm

Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Otherwise, you might want to use low drag factor (100 or less) and should consider using slides if possible. Avoid doing sprints until you know how your body will handle it.
M35|5'8"/173CM|148lb/67KG|LWT|MHR 192|RHR 42|2020: 5K 18:52.9 (@1:53.2/500)|C2-D+Slides+EndureRow Seat+NSI Minicell Foam

cowboyjon
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by cowboyjon » May 4th, 2021, 1:25 pm

Slides help?

Dangerscouse
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by Dangerscouse » May 4th, 2021, 2:13 pm

cowboyjon wrote:
May 4th, 2021, 8:55 am
4 years ago I was forced to quit the erg with a herniated disc, the year after that I was forced to quit weight lifting altogether as my disc refused to heal.

I took up cycling and didn't look back and my disc has since healed/popped back in. While at the age of 41 with a bunch of injuries behind me I know I will never feel 100% again I have 3 years of recovery behind me and I haven't felt better in at least twice that span of time.

I have always missed the erg though (strange that I don't miss the free weights at all as they were my passion for 10+ years).

I'm booked into our local gym to test my back on their rowing machine (don't think its a concept 2 unfortunately) tonight and I'm pretty excited about getting back into it. I am hoping with everything I have that my back holds up fine.

Has anyone else on here recovered from a herniated disc and gone on to continue their rowing?
How badly herniated? Did it need surgery?

My most important piece of advice is to regularly do Pilates or at least some of type of core workouts. My wife had a disc replaced a while ago, and within seven months she completed a 5km obstacle race, which she wholly attributes to doing Pilates for a few years beforehand and regularly ever since.

There is also a possible issue of technique and drag factor. Did you used to row on max drag, and did you usually row as hard, and fast, as possible?

There are many examples of powerlifters returning to competition, and Magnus Samuelsson returned to World's Strongest Man competitions after an L4/L5 hernia, so with the right training and preparation it's definitely possible
47 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 20:47; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,618m HM= 1:16.47; FM= 2:40:41; 50k= 3:16:09; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

Instagram: stuwenman

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ampire
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by ampire » May 4th, 2021, 3:17 pm

Agree with everything dangerscouse says above. Re: slides, I find the slides easier on my spine, I've had two spinal surgeries but not for a disc.
M35|5'8"/173CM|148lb/67KG|LWT|MHR 192|RHR 42|2020: 5K 18:52.9 (@1:53.2/500)|C2-D+Slides+EndureRow Seat+NSI Minicell Foam

cowboyjon
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by cowboyjon » May 4th, 2021, 3:30 pm

All good advice so far!

Just back from the gym. Happy to say after 4 years of zero rowing I was able to row for 30 minutes, 6.3k at a relaxed pace of 2.21.

All that time cycling has my cardio vascular system in a different league from when I was lifting+rowing - my hr was never over 120bpm, which is barely in my fat burning zone.

Dangerscouse
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by Dangerscouse » May 5th, 2021, 12:49 am

cowboyjon wrote:
May 4th, 2021, 3:30 pm
All good advice so far!

Just back from the gym. Happy to say after 4 years of zero rowing I was able to row for 30 minutes, 6.3k at a relaxed pace of 2.21.

All that time cycling has my cardio vascular system in a different league from when I was lifting+rowing - my hr was never over 120bpm, which is barely in my fat burning zone.
Good to hear. Take it slowly, rebuild your confidence, continually strengthen your core girdle, and I think you'll be fine. "Motion is lotion, rest is rust"
47 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 20:47; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,618m HM= 1:16.47; FM= 2:40:41; 50k= 3:16:09; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

Instagram: stuwenman

cowboyjon
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by cowboyjon » May 5th, 2021, 3:17 am

Cheers dangerscous.


Can definitely feel a little soreness down at my old injury this morning.

Totally to be expected tho - I did too much for my first time back. Plan was 20 minutes super easy, minimum resistance. Ended up doing the majority of the workout on level 4, felt great but like my legs weren't getting the chance to do much so I wound the resistance to max for the final 2 minutes and I definitely felt like my quads were doing something at that point. Unfortunately I could also feel my cursed back tweaking a little but too.

Obviously my form needs work and I'll do my best to get back to where I was.

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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by ampire » May 5th, 2021, 8:25 am

cowboyjon wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 3:17 am
Cheers dangerscous.


Can definitely feel a little soreness down at my old injury this morning.

Totally to be expected tho - I did too much for my first time back. Plan was 20 minutes super easy, minimum resistance. Ended up doing the majority of the workout on level 4, felt great but like my legs weren't getting the chance to do much so I wound the resistance to max for the final 2 minutes and I definitely felt like my quads were doing something at that point. Unfortunately I could also feel my cursed back tweaking a little but too.

Obviously my form needs work and I'll do my best to get back to where I was.
If you are using proper form, you will exert your legs more with the lower drag factor because it requires more drive speed to maintain the same pace. High drag factor will damage your spine, and high drag factor won't give you a better workout. Heavyweight Olympic rowers train on ~130 drag factor and that is around a ~#4-5 on the Concept 2 dial. You should never be rowing with the drag factor maxed, especially if you have a herniated disc. 99% of people should not be rowing with the drag factor maxed regardless of disc. The exception might be powerlifters setting 100M records.
Setting drag factor to the maximum will result in a much slower pull and more back and arm involvement instead of legs.

Concept 2 will display the drag factor in the menu under more options, which is a more accurate measure of flywheel drag than the "resistance" number that the external lever is on.


Consider posting a video of your form.
M35|5'8"/173CM|148lb/67KG|LWT|MHR 192|RHR 42|2020: 5K 18:52.9 (@1:53.2/500)|C2-D+Slides+EndureRow Seat+NSI Minicell Foam

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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by cowboyjon » May 5th, 2021, 8:53 am

ampire wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 8:25 am
cowboyjon wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 3:17 am
Cheers dangerscous.


Can definitely feel a little soreness down at my old injury this morning.

Totally to be expected tho - I did too much for my first time back. Plan was 20 minutes super easy, minimum resistance. Ended up doing the majority of the workout on level 4, felt great but like my legs weren't getting the chance to do much so I wound the resistance to max for the final 2 minutes and I definitely felt like my quads were doing something at that point. Unfortunately I could also feel my cursed back tweaking a little but too.

Obviously my form needs work and I'll do my best to get back to where I was.
If you are using proper form, you will exert your legs more with the lower drag factor because it requires more drive speed to maintain the same pace. High drag factor will damage your spine, and high drag factor won't give you a better workout. Heavyweight Olympic rowers train on ~130 drag factor and that is around a ~#4-5 on the Concept 2 dial. You should never be rowing with the drag factor maxed, especially if you have a herniated disc. 99% of people should not be rowing with the drag factor maxed regardless of disc. The exception might be powerlifters setting 100M records.
Setting drag factor to the maximum will result in a much slower pull and more back and arm involvement instead of legs.

Concept 2 will display the drag factor in the menu under more options, which is a more accurate measure of flywheel drag than the "resistance" number that the external lever is on.


Consider posting a video of your form.

All great advice that I will take to heart.

I am on the 13 week waiting list for an erg so I will be forced to head to the gym once per week to use theirs and doubt I'll be taking out my phone to video myself but definitely if I get a machine in the home I'll post a video seeking help.

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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by cowboyjon » May 5th, 2021, 8:59 am

Super annoyed with myself for increasing resistance and rowing too long last night.

I'm 41 years old, with a history of sports related injuries and creaks and rattles and I should know better - hell, I DID know better as I drove to the gym but after 5 minutes, then 10 minutes I felt so good I just couldn't help myself.

My wife has said for years there's something wrong with me where I'm trying to hurt myself, lol. Personally I think I'm just an idiot with no impulse control.

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ampire
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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by ampire » May 5th, 2021, 11:15 am

cowboyjon wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 8:59 am
Super annoyed with myself for increasing resistance and rowing too long last night.

I'm 41 years old, with a history of sports related injuries and creaks and rattles and I should know better - hell, I DID know better as I drove to the gym but after 5 minutes, then 10 minutes I felt so good I just couldn't help myself.

My wife has said for years there's something wrong with me where I'm trying to hurt myself, lol. Personally I think I'm just an idiot with no impulse control.
We all do that, its normal psychology for athletes. I know I have done things I've regretted, but I just try to think about the potential cost, sometimes I let my impulses guide me and then regret it afterwards.
M35|5'8"/173CM|148lb/67KG|LWT|MHR 192|RHR 42|2020: 5K 18:52.9 (@1:53.2/500)|C2-D+Slides+EndureRow Seat+NSI Minicell Foam

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Re: Returning after a herniated disc

Post by cowboyjon » May 8th, 2021, 7:34 am

Made it to the gym yesterday to use their rower again.

40 minutes, easy pace, probably 10 minutes of form drills in there. More importantly I set the drag factor and positioned my ankles/feet correctly and everything felt better.

Came home feeling great, woke up today feeling great!

Gutted I won't get my machine until the end of July but what can you do? I'll make it to the gym once per week along with all the cycling I do and hopefully I'll hit the ground running when it eventually arrives.

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