Hi - I started an FTP training block after doing my first 4DP test. With work and family I’m finding it hard enough to find time to do all the sessions. But now I’ve aggravated an old lower back injury. (My calf pinged during the FTP section of the 4DP, and I also wonder if the low cadence efforts in GOAT tipped me over the edge.)
Should I stop and just keep limber until it’s all settled down? Should I do low intensity workouts on the bike? Or just push through? It’s mostly sore when I’m sat at my desk or in a car for ages. cycling seem ok but I don’t want to make it worse just because an app tells me it’s workout day.
Is there a way to pause a plan on SYSTM? That would be nice. Hit an “injured” button and just resume when fit again.
First and foremost: Get a bike fit. Even if you had one three months ago. Second: Please see a physio on the back issue. You don’t want to aggravate it as you will definitely Suffer in an unapproved manner. In the meantime, light and steady is the way to go. BTW, I have a very old back injury that rears its ugly head every once in a while and I have a specific plan to fix it. Cycling does not improve it nor make it worse.
One thing is to get that fit checked. A lot, and I mean a lot, can and does change over that period of time. The base rule is get a check in the beginning of the season every year. You might not be able to get a new fit then, but as soon as possible.
I’ve dealt with low back pain flare-ups for years. Happened when I carried weighty items around in my work, or did a lot of bending over while weeding garden beds, and various other triggers, including long periods in the recliner reading on the laptop. It came and went, often creating significant pain that varied from nagging to debilitating. Finally had just basic X-rays done in July to see if there was really anything there structurally that contributed. All it really told me was I have arthritis in my spine. Yeah. Figured that.
Then was given a link to a YouTube workout called Foundation Training original 12 minute workout w/ Dr. Eric Goodman
I watched it a couple times to get a feel for what it involved, and then started doing it. I had done it 8 times over about 16 days, and was feeling significant gains in pain reduction and improvement in my posture. Had to quit because I got pleurisy, with a painful attack on 9/2, and then found I had pneumonia on 9/12, when a CT scan was done because of continued attacks. That shot the Foundation Training work for about 6 weeks. I think it was notable that during that whole hiatus, I had no low back pain whatsoever until I did some weeding chores again and carried some small planters in and out a couple nights due to frost warnings. Again with the nagging pain.
But I was finally feeling well enough to start back on the Foundation Training workout again, and have continued several times a week for the last 3 weeks and I’m nothing short of AMAZED at how much good it does for my posture and it’s worked me out of the low back pain completely. I can tell first thing getting up in the morning whether I’m needing that “correction.” I’ve done it at various times of day, early, late, before rides, after rides. Every time I’ve done that 12 minute workout, I feel better, more stable, and my low back is happier.
It works hamstrings and glutes, among others, and I’m getting stronger again after the most lost cycling time in a lot of years for me, due to the pleurisy and pneumonia. I did ride some during that whole time, but had to shut it down for as much as 6 or 7 days once, and a lot of lighter days till I improved, mostly because of doc’s counsel, not because I absolutely couldn’t do anything.
I still don’t know what caused the pleurisy, and probably won’t ever. The pneumonia COULD have developed as a result of the pleurisy, but could have been concurrent, that much isn’t sure either.
But I’m SO sold on the Foundation Training original 12 minutes w/ Dr. Eric Goodman that I expect to do it for the rest of my life. It’s THAT GOOD, at least for me. If you try it, maybe don’t be as aggressive as I was, at least right from the start; I’m a bit intense and willing to suffer and probably hit it so hard that the pleural effusion I didn’t know I had was exacerbated by the intense stress I was willing to place on unprepared, unsuspecting muscles as I did those back extensions, etc!
Best to you! Hope it helps. I will add that I tried the “NEW” 12minute version of Foundation Training by the same Dr. Eric Goodman, and I did it maybe twice, but I didn’t find it as helpful, or as easy to actually understand and therefore activate the correct muscles during that new version. I have read that it may be “safer” than the original workout, but am not sure what that means or whether it’s true or not. I think any “workout” that attempts to break up fascia has potential for hurting you, (especially if you’re like me, and go “all in” too quickly!)
The Foundation Training has a whole host of workouts that I have not tried, and probably will explore more of these in time, but right now, this Original 12minute is a lifesaver for me!!
P.S. There is a BASIC FOUNDATION TRAINING workout that is 4 minutes that focuses in on the basic “Founder” position. It’s a good one to start with to get the correct position and muscle activation that is used in the Original 12minute workout I referenced in earlier reply.
Sorry to hear that you’ve been having back pains. Often an issue with this is something tight along the rear line of your body, all the way from your ankles up to your neck as it all forms part of the kinetic chain. I think it’s incredibly important to stretch thoroughly and also include strength training if you have the time. If no time for Strength, try and get in the yoga sessions. It can also help keeping your legs more outstretched when sitting if you can as that contributes to the tightness you can get especially in the hamstrings.
Best thing would be to pause the plan, unfortunately the only way I know to do this is to either shift everything forward a few weeks, or reapply the plan in the future but have the start date for before when you start. So if you’re a week into the plan, set the plan to start a week before you want to restart. That way you’ll start on Week 2. Doing efforts when experiencing pain is not recommended, we all love to suffer here but there are different types of suffering and this isn’t the right one
Have you tried the Systm mobility vids? I’ve found that they hit most of the movements I need to deal with my back pain. In my case, though I feel it in my lower back, it’s stretching my hips and hamstrings that helps, along with T- spine rotation.
I tore a disc in my lower back (L4/L5) almost 20 years ago. Saw the doc. Went to PT, etc, etc. It’s improved but is never 100%. I get pain off and on. And restless leg (which is worse, almost unbearable, when my weight goes up). Often debilitating tightness for 2 weeks where I can’t even put my socks on for a couple days and can barely walk or stand for long for a week. And then spend the next week slowly improving. Sometimes all it takes to aggravate it is sitting on the floor with my kids for too long, or bending over a table doing a puzzle too long.
The thing I found to improve it and keep the pain and tightness and sudden aggravation at bay is dedicated, disciplined, consistent core strength work 2 to 4 times per week. Even just 12-15 minutes per day. This includes any of a variety of different methods of doing dynamic body weight core exercises and stretching/yoga.
The best I found is swimming - I was also primarily a runner for years, and when I started triathlon training my back didn’t go out for over 2 years until I lost access to a pool during the pandemic. Barring that the next best exercises I found are doing the basic SYSTM full body strength videos (mostly just 1 and 2, sometimes 3 and 4), and yoga. I do each twice a week on alternating days (M/w, T/Th).
The yoga I do varies between the lower back recovery and the groin, hips, and hamstrings because cycling so often causes tightness in the legs and hips which then pull at the lower back and cause pain. The lower back recovery yoga sessions include almost all the exercises I was given by my PT to help battle my lower back pain and don’t interfere with the strength workouts.
If I don’t do my exercises then hard NM cycling like GOAT and longer MAP intervals will aggravate my back. But when I do them, I can do almost anything on the bike with no issues.
That’s what I found works for me. Your mileage may vary…
Thanks everyone. Some really interesting responses. I’m aiming to make time for more mobility exercises - I’ve never been very limber and have always had tight hamstrings, so I know why I get the back pain. This time around I basically did what @Coach.Andy.T suggested - I stopped the plan, saw my osteopath a couple of times, calmed things down. I also lost a bit of my confidence!
By yesterday I felt good enough to try again. I did one of the posterior chain videos on the Systm app, followed by a short GCN workout and a warm down stretch on another app I have. It felt good - and I have no back pain today.
The idea is to pick up the FTP plan if I can slowly from this week, but build in more stretching and flexibility. Sadly I commute more than last year and as I have young kids I don’t have as much time to exercise as last year. But I’m going to stick with it.
And thanks for the Foundation Training tip. The comments under there certainly seem to vouch for its effectiveness…
For warm ups I would suggest more active movements such as lunges and maybe some basic RDL (romanian deadlifts) or good mornings to active the post chain using minimal weights for resistance. Also swinging the arms in circles along the side of your body to loosen out shoulders. Body rolls down to toughing toes and back up too. So not static stretches, but active ones
I like to do core & hip mobility before a ride, and shoulder & back if I’ve been sitting a while. I do more back, hip, and groin stretching after the ride, incorporating the stretchy bits from mobility vids and some yoga poses. Or I will do a yoga video.
If I do multiple routines, I tend to start with what’s bothering me the most so that I can move more freely through the rest of them.
On a recovery day, I sometimes go through a set of them moving from head to toes.