Can Isometrics Fix A Bad Back

- Isometric Training FAQ 16 -

By Paul "Batman" O'Brien 

B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. IMed., Dip. Adv. OBB, Dip. CHM, Pn1, PN-SSR, PN-NCA, M.AFPA., M.C.Th.A.

This is the Readers Questions Sections, where each issue I'll highlight a new question and provide you with a detailed answer.....Feel free to contact me with your questions here - contact me

This week I'll be answering Steve's very important question on the safety of some of the exercises I teach - in particular, can isometrics fix a bad back? Steve sent this wonderfully detailed question having looked at the preview of my program - 7 Seconds to A Perfect Body.

Now keep in mind as you read my reply all those letters I have after my name. My intention isn't to brag but one of the specialities of my medical practice is spinal diagonsis and repair and I've fixed many a bad back in my time, including disk degenerations, subluxations and fixations and more. So unlike many fitness experts out there I can speak authoritively on repairing and rehabing the back and spine, having treated hunders of patients successfully. In fact my isometrics program 7 Seconds to Build A Perfect Body was recently featured in an international medical journal for Spinal surgeons and osteopaths. I'll have a link to that article shortly, so stay tunned, but for now, let's look at Steve's question -

Steve Asks:


While I realize the e-mail is a canned e-mail sent based on the timing of the original download and starts with the question "How did you find the 7 Seconds to the Perfect Body Preview?", that question is probably rhetorical therefore not really expecting a reply. But I thought I would send one anyway.

When I first started reading through the section of the e-book provided, I thought I had found the solution to my problems. I sincerely did. Then I skipped ahead and just started looking around. Then the problem became evident.

In looking at the exercises everything looks great at the beginning; completely doable. It was when I skipped ahead that I realized there is no way I would be able to do some of the exercises. It was actually recommended by a physical therapist that I undertake isometrics because they are "safe". I have both osteoporosis (at its worst in the L4 and L5 vertebrae in my neck, also in my left shoulder and hips but not to as bad a degree) and osteoarthritis. While both of these conditions lend themselves medically to this form of exercise to slow their progress if I were to even attempt what can only be described as a wrestling neck bridge (I used to wrestle in high school years ago so I know the position), instead of strengthening my neck and back...both would probably snap like twigs!

I looked through the section for as effective an alternative but either didn't see it or there is none. As I would prefer not to snap my neck or injure my back I don't see why I would start a program that I couldn't fully use. If I missed something, please let me know as so much of what you present looks doable. Push-ups are always a big part of isometrics however that is easy to figure out how to modify them (for example: standing in front of a wall to do them from an upright position to reduce the stress on wrists - also with my conditions prone to weight related stress injury - and gradually increasing the angle until the muscle strength was built up enough to take the larger part of the support of body weight). But I can't think of any way to alter a neck bridge.

Like I said, if I missed something (like another exercise that doesn't put a person's whole body weight on the neck) to some form of beginner that could just be repeated over and over to add some strength, I would be very interested.

Well, if you've actually read this, I thank you. And again, if you had any kind of solution to what would be damaging to my body (exercises that don't place such extreme stress on the neck and back) I'm sure I would purchase your book as most of what I initially read looked like it would work for me.

Thanks for your time.

My reply:

Hi Steve,

Yep it is a canned response, but I always keep a close eye on any feedback I receive, it's a genuine invitation to learn more about what I offer and what people are looking for, and I'm glad you wrote in. Isometrics are an excellent choice for people rehabbing from injury or muscular damage. In fact my techniques are currently being used by combat units overseas to help assist in the rehabilitation of severely injured soldiers. Isometrics have also been used for many years in hospitals etc in injury rehab because they are so safe and easy to perform. This is primarily because they do not require movement and thus their is no danger or compression damage associated with them.

Please do not not worry about the bridge. That's a more advanced technique, not designed for beginners or those with back injuries, but it should be a goal for you. I teach several, comprehensive back strengthening techniques in the ebook, all easy to perform that in NO WAY strain the spine. The point is to focus on contracting the muscles to produce maximal stimulation and produce strength, at no time in any of the exercises is the spine compressed. (That includes the bridge by the way. When you have developed the strength to perform the bridge and I am confident you can, you'll see that it in fact releases the spine and lengthens and decompresses it. Poorly performed however it could lead to serious damage of the neck, hence it is a very advanced technique, which I make clear in the ebook, and I also teach progressions to get you there should you wish). In fact the majority of the exercises in my perfect body course can actually be performed seated, or even lying down.

I use many of these techniques in my clinic day in day out to help heal my patients - I'm also an acupuncturist, TCM physician, western clinical medic and have speciality training in spinal diagnosis and repair, etc. I've had the privilege of helping many people with chronic back pain experience tremendous relief. Isometrics are a staple of my treatment protocols precisely because the dramatically increase strength in the muscles of the back without risking the integrity of the spine.

In fact I received this email only 3 day's ago from someone who used my program for rehab. It doesn't appear on the website yet, nor do the recommendations and endorsements I've received from Doctors, Chiropractors and Physio's (I'll be updating the site with these shortly along with some of my work published work including an article featured in Spine - the professional magazine for spinal surgeons etc.), I think you'll enjoy this -

Rebuilding a Bad Back:

Hi Paul,

Sorry for the long email, but I have another story that I think you might get a kick out of. I have been seeing a chiropractor for the last 18 months due to problems with my spine, especially in my neck. I was experiencing a lot of stiffness and movement loss in my back & hips and also instead of having the correct curve in my neck, it was actually straight and even starting to curve the incorrect way. This was from many years of poor posture, incorrect weight training technique and not to mention that I thrash myself around way too much when I'm on stage with my band haha. Anyway, for the first year or so, I was having treatment 3 times a week and was doing traction for my neck every night at home.

I discovered your 7 seven seconds to a perfect body program last year around August and liked the fact that I could develop muscle and exercise without weights, as I could not perform many exercises correctly due to weakness caused by the degeneration in my spine. Since using your program, both myself and my doctor have noticed a huge improvement in my strength and mobility.

I have gone from seeing my chiropractor from 3 times a week last year to 1 visit per MONTH, which is just for maintenance. I cannot tell you how happy I am with this Paul.

By using your 7 seven seconds to a perfect body program, I have improved my quality of life by more than I ever thought possible. One thing that I am really stoked on is for the first time ever this week I was able to perform a bridge and push myself up off the ground into the correct position. I only held this position for around 15 seconds, but for someone who 6 months ago couldn't even sit or stand without feeling discomfort and pain, it is a massive achievement. It actually brought tears to my eyes. So I just wanted to share that story with you and I cannot thank you enough.

Take care :)


I have no doubt whatsoever that my program could help you. As I mentioned there is an entire section of back development, and in fact a chapter exclusively on back pain and treatment. The majority of the exercises are performed either standing or lying down and in no way stress the neck. (On that you state the damage is in L4, and L5? Both of these vertebrae are located at the bottom of the spine, the Lumbar region and are located above the hips, the complete opposite of the neck, which would be the cervical section). If you have any further questions, please feel free to shoot me an email.

Hope that helps,

Your isometric expert and personal trainer,

You've been reading Can Isometrics Fix A Bad Back - Isometric FAQ 16. Check out more FAQ's here. 

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