Sunday, May 22, 2011

5BX program

From Discussion

No kidding! I used to have frequent back pain, with aches that wouldn't go away even after an age of stretching.
Six years ago I started on the RCAF's old 5BX program (a quick Google search will lead you to the booklet that describes it -- dead simple) and, in exchange for 11 minutes of exercise a day on an open floor, had the body I've always wanted within a year.
I've since moved on to weights and other gym-like stuff and have not had back pain in years.
It's so stupidly obvious I'm kicking myself for it now: If you have decent muscle to support all those bones and tendons up your back, they won't be straining themselves to the point of pain while supporting your body.

Yeah, yeah, 5BX is great! While a certain rare exercise machine gives the most relief, one simple 5BX back exercise (chart 1, exercise 3) is as effective, provided I do it regularly.

The only thing that has helped is exercise. Strengthening your back (especially lower) is probably going to help more than anything else. Squats and deadlifts in particular.

Pull ups will do wonders as well.

I agree, but I wish I could caution my younger self about the risk of low back injuries from certain weightlifting activities
1) You can develop very strong lower back muscles (primarily the extensors), but don't challenge those muscles when they're nearing their endurance limit.
2) If your femurs are long relative to your tibia, don't try to force yourself to perform as heavy or with the same form and depth on squats, deadlifts, or cleans, as more normal folks. At low depth, your back will consistently be more parallel to the floor than upright, dramatically increasing shear across your spine.
Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn't round your back excessively while bearing significant load, especially if it's far (horizontally) from your hips. It's not necessarily that a rounded back is automatically dangerous, but in general, if you're bracing your abdominal/back muscles (which will prevent rounding), you're less at risk of injury.

Outside of seeing a doctor to see if there's something seriously screwed up with your back, I'd offer these 3 pieces of advice I had to learn about the hard way.
1.) Massage.
You may not think it's the manliest thing ever, but if you can afford it you should find a good local masseuse and get yourself an hour session. Even if you go once and never go again, you'll get an education in just how kinked up your back and shoulders probably are.
I tweaked my back lifting a lawn mower out of my car a few years ago and didn't think much of it at the time. Over the next few weeks I started to have all kinds of shoulder problems and other various pain to the point where my arms were getting tingly and I couldn't sit and code for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Long story short, I went through a few doctors before I finally just decided to see a masseuse and see if it helped. I was lucky to find someone that knew what they were doing and helped get me straightened out. It took about 5 sessions over 5 weeks, but I've never had problems since.
2.) Trigger points.
Learn what they are and how you can fix them. This was my problem that the masseuse turned me on to. Trigger points are essentially little micro-knots in your muscle fibers that can add up to cause big problems for you. For me, lifting that mower was really just the straw that broke the camel's back. It just exacerbated all the trigger point problems I'd been creating over years of coding and not stretching out my back and shoulders properly.
If you know where the common trigger points creep up and how to get rid of them you can save yourself a lot of pain and downtime (not to mention massage bills).
The book will show you how to identify and treat the trigger points all over your body, and the TheraCane will help you reach the places on your back that you can't reach yourself.
3.) Yoga.
Once you get all your issues straightened out, yoga and/or a good daily stretching regimen can help keep you kink free.
Hopefully some of this advice is helpful. I was really messed up for a while until I figured all this out.

1 comment:

Idler said...