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Thin, weak back, IBS - Help me create a training regiment

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Dear fellow vegans, bodybuilders and fitnessers!


I'm starting bodybuilding! I've never trained before, and I'm able to take maybe 15 push-ups, but I've decided that now's the time.

My fitness center (they're pretty expensive where I live) is having a campaign where if you train 4 times a week, you'll get your membership for free. So I thought it was a good motivational factor!

A little bit about myself:

My name's Toby, I'm 22 years old, 6.33 ft. height, weight about 136.6 pounds, I suffer from IBS but have no deficiencies according to my doctor (I've had several blood tests taken through the years). What I do have is a weak right wrist and a very weak back. My back is not just lacking muscle volume though, it's very tender. This especially shows if I'm bowing/bending forwards, letting my arms fall to the ground and slowly raising myself up again - that around a certain vertebrae, there's a pain. This could maybe be damage from previous attempts at bodybuilding, but I've been to a physician that tested the mobility of my back and said okay for it.



I need help with creating a training regiment that'll allow me to build up my back, in such a way, that it's not put under alot of resistance either. I'm thinking some body weight exercices like chin-ups with rubberbands as support? That's easy enough. The problem lies in all the other exercises that I have to perform to train the rest of my body: They have to be gentle on my back! As many of you know, exercises that doesn't seem to target the back at all, often puts the back and vertebraes under pressure either way, so I have to avoid that.


Right now I'm doing this regiment three times a week:

- Dumbbell bench press

- Lat pulldown

- Overhead dumbbell press -----> This one puts vertical pressure on the back, has to be subbed.

- Leg press

- Leg Curl

- Rope pressdown

- Barbell biceps curl -----> This puts pressure on the back, when reaching point of failure?

- Standing Calf raise

- Crunch


After a week of this I'll go into the other regiments provided here:



What I've also had a hard time finding online, is a warmup program that explicitly helps the back being prepared for the workout. Got any ideas there? Right now I've just taken two warm up sets for every muscle.


It should be noted that, while I've not trained extensively before, I am able to press myself a lot (in the good way) and I will go through the sets and reps.


I hope somebody can help me creating a good working regiment!



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Hey there, it sounds like you might do well on a HIT isolation type routine, i have back and shoulder problems but i weigh 225lbs and can lift some fairly heavy weights, even though i dont do the "bread and butter" bodybuilding exercises. Isolation exercises can build alot of muscle if trained intensely and infrequently and they also dont put as much stress on the back and so on......I would look into HIT (high intensity training) especially the writings of mike mentzer and then use the principals to build your own routine with the exercises you like and dont cause any discomfort and then work on progressing on them all. Food is important too, dont eat processed rubbish, just concentrate on eating plenty of clean food with maybe a protein powder thrown in a couple of times a day.

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  • 7 months later...

I have a shoulder that has been partially dislocated a number of times, an elbow that is prone to tendonitis, slight spondylolisthesis in the lumbar spine and a sacro-iliac joint that is often inflamed and very painful. But I manage to train.


For the overhead dumbbell press you might find benefit from doing pike press ups with your torso as vertical as possible. Or handstand press ups. Or handstand shoulder shrugs. Of course, these depend on your ability to do them without pain.


For the barbell curls you might be able to do some sort of inverted row. Two hands to start, progressing to one hand or adding weight in a knapsack.


The bird-dog exercise is very good for spinal health.

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