Thank you everyone for your responses.
1) Yeah I am a big guy - 280 @ 6'4". I'm not what you would call petite. However, I know I am 70-50lbs overweight depending on what you go by. If I use the excuse "I'll wait until I lose the weight before I start doing XXXX" I'll never go :(
A friend of mine said, "You know what gets you into shape for XXXX? Doing XXXX". So I am a martial artist of a larger stature with the understanding that in time, hopefully, I will be more flexible and not have to modify certain moves to reach over my belly.
2) I am doing this with a doctor the whole way through. I am currently back up to walking nonstop for 1 hour at a time. Starting next week I can submerge the incision so I am going to be doing a river walk for the following month. Then light swimming for the rest of the year.
3) Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi (The slow and no contact kind) will start being a part of my rotation after 4 months.
4) Something was mentioned about core and lumbar strengthening. I apologize, but I am really ignorant about this. Does core include lumbar? From what I've always thought, core are the Upper, Middle and lower Abdominals as well as the hip flexers. As for the back, I've always thought it was just the lower back - not including the lumbar area.
This is why I was wondering if core exercises actually help if they don't strengthen the lumbar area.
Again - thank you everyone. My goal is to start going to back to BJJ for my 2nd stripe on my white belt in 1 year.
You're that debilitated? Get a good physical therapist, particularly one willing to do manual therapy like myofascial release. Get recommendations. Doctors are great for surgery but once you hit recovery you should head to PT. Some doctors aren't very pro-PT, but they're dumbasses. A good physical therapist is a life-changer (I may be biased; my wife is a PT).
Core does not equal abs. You should think of your core as the girdle going all of the way around your midsection, including all of the muscles there including the deep abdominal muscles and your low back.
It sounds like you need professional guidance in order to meet your goals and avoid further injuries.
Making weight loss a priority is a good idea.
I'm with Gypsy Jazz etc re: crunches.
When the front of your core, the abs, are relatively much stronger than the muscles in your lumbar, it leads to muscle pulls because the muscles in the back are constantly being stretched and placed in tension from the contraction of the dominant front muscles.
They need to be balanced to prevent muscles strains and create proper posture.
The core is a corset that goes all the way around your midsection. You have to work it all the way around.
Weightloss should be a big priority for yourself. It's more a matter of a proper diet than any kind of awesome exercise routine. Exercise is still essential, but without a proper diet you won't make any progress.
Six weeks post-spinal fusion here, so the subject's been on my mind as of late.
The only advice I'm going to give you is this:
1) Find a good PT
2) Get advice from them
3) Follow that advice
It is hard, so be diligent.
Now for something that will hopefully aid general understanding:
It's relatively easy to understand lumbar extension. Your erector spinae are superficial and (hopefully) big and prominent, and there's not a lot else between the lumbar spine and the skin to confuse things.
Lumbar flexion, on the other hand, is a bit more muddied. The rectus abdominus is a big deal come beach season, but beyond that, it gets a bit less intuitive. For one thing, there are other muscles that attach to the spine. For example, the psoas major (part of the hip flexor group of muscles) attaches to your lumbar spine, and can cause flexion if you let it. Blew my mind when I found that out.
But the other thing to understand that is initially really counterintuitive is that some of the very same muscles you use to flex your lumbar spine can be used to stabilize it against flexion when combined with abdominal pressure generated by the diaphragm. Rather than pulling the front of your ribcage toward your pubis, the pressure squeezes your viscera up against the front of your spine, helping to brace it against flexion. Picture them as a big meaty weight belt.
Here is what I do on the excercise ball for core work
no idea how to embed video any more.
Anyhow I have a posterial bulge in my lower L5 (I think) disk I started doing bacward stretching on the ball and it really helped then started doing the crunches.
Again everyone is different but for me I find these really help.
That and planks, and leg lifts, also some Yoda poses I picked up.
Repeated (gentle) spinal extension for a posteriorly bulging disc is PART of the McKenzie Method, a physical therapy treatment model. If I were to hazard a guess, that's what's giving you relief.
Originally Posted by Goju - Joe
I understand that the crunching is not causing any pain, but my internet arm-chair advice would be to quit crunching since repeated spinal flexion will make the disc migrate posteriorly. That's the opposite of the thing you'd want to happen.
Originally Posted by TheRuss
Could you elaborate on that bit?
Here you go good sir.
Originally Posted by ChenPengFi