Lower Back Rehab: Getting Back Into The Gym Safely.

Lower Back Rehab: Getting Back Into The Gym Safely.

How do you bridge the gap from low level rehab into lifting safely?

The trickiest part of injury rehabilitation (after the initial investigation stages) is how to safely, and effectively, return to lifting for strength and performance once a solid foundation has been built.

Too often I see people get caught up in the idea that back rehab just being about endless side-bridges and bird-dog exercises. This is then followed by a MASSIVE disconnect between that and what they want to do in the gym.

The key is to remember the ‘bank balance’ principle. The balance is the amount of work your back and body will tolerate before it breaks down into injury.

Your goal should always be to build a bank balance of strength and ability that is suitable for what you want to do (even better to add some extra for safety buffer!).

For easy numbers, you’ll need $100 to walk around for day-to-day needs. So just getting good at side-bridges, bird-dogs and glute-bridges is adequate.

Let’s say you now want to lift recreationally in the gym, you’ll need at least $200 in your account. So progressing from the foundation exercises into safe versions of the big lifts – squats, deadlifts and their variations. With the goal to lift your own bodyweight on the bar for reps.

But what about playing sport or lifting competitively?

Now you will need at least $300 in that account. You should be looking to build as much strength and control over the greatest ranges of motion you can, plus also adding in some skill work for any specific movements you need for your sport.



The low level foundation exercises are exactly that. They let you build the initial foundation from which you then need to build a bank balance for your needs.

For those who are martial arts minded, the foundation exercises are white belt level. The individual components and principles from which to build.

Don’t expect to get competent at the basics and then be able to roll with the black belts. Trust me, it does not end well.


VIDEO: Getting Back into the Gym Safely

To help, I have compiled a short list of some of my favourite exercise progressions that will let you progress from intermediate to advanced level training safey and effectively.

I tried to keep the video as short as possible, but it still came out around 26 minutes long…some things you just can’t do a rush job on ;)