Looking for suggestions for skiing with bad back

I spent two months off this summer living in my recliner after I threw out my back after skiing and am a little apprehensive about skiing again.

On my third set, I felt pain in my lower back getting pulled out. After an MRI, I have a slight L3 bulging disc. I couldn't even walk I was in crazy pain. After 2 months and 2 steroid injections I'm feeling better.

Would switching from 2 feet in to 1 foot starts help lower the stress on my back?

Neoprene weight lifting belt? I thought I saw an men's open skier wear one.

Would a Goode Power Vest help or would it just help reduce the load on the arms?



  • 2tracmind2tracmind Posts: 56 Baller
    Solid advice above. I have compression of the L4-5, L5-S1, "jelly has left the DONUT" due to previous sporting injuries. I keep my core and spine strong and mobile.
    I switched from double boots to a rtp for performance reasons 10 years ago. Three seasons ago I did a set on a buddies new vapor with double boots, skied well but realized how much more load you take on deep water starts than with one foot out.
    Then had a 3 hr drive home. Got out of the car and my posture was similar to Quasimodo, it took a week to get straightened out. Keep your hair dry and switch to the rtp one foot start.
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,113 Mega Baller
    edited October 2020
    I am always fighting a tweaky back and have for years. The things that help me are general weight training specifically including variations on deadlifts and planks (side planks and pushup position and hanging rows) and farmers walks. Sitting in a chair and having a desk job and going soft are back killers. When I get lazy with weight training is generally when I get hurt skiing.
  • JackQJackQ Posts: 500 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Walking, weight training all will help. After back surgery for a rupture of L5/S1, I know I need to change things. I starting biking, at 1st I would have to get off bike after less than 10 minutes and slowly improved to where I could do 90+min.

    The two most important thing for me was to change my skiing (less slaming the buoys and improving body position) and lose weight. Biking helped greatly losing weight, but changing what I ate was as large of a factor.

    I was running 35 and and on rare occasion 38 at 205-210pounds, but once I was in the 180s, getting up was easier, I could ski more passes, and my back did not hurt as much. It look a couple of years, before my scores started showing improvements, but I was able to keep skiing with less pain in relatively short order.
  • eyepeelereyepeeler Posts: 220 Baller
    Officials are now measuring the compressive load on the spine during the stacked position in skiing. 600, 700, 800, 900, pounds of load on the human spine while skiing. Is it smart to succumb an already injured spine to a 700 pound compressive load repetitively? Do you think the spinal compressive load is going to make your back better? Neurosurgeons love skiers!
    Matt Dillon
  • WIRiverRatWIRiverRat Posts: 80 Baller
    I have an issue with the same L3, except instead of a bulging disk my vertebrae is pushing in to my spinal cord and keeps going further, fusion is in the near future. In the meantime like you steroid injections help and the baxmaxx back brace linked above really has made me feel good while skiing. I am a double booter and being able to really tighted up a back brace way beyond and brace I have had before has helped immensely. I think I spent $60 with the BOS coupon code. Worth every penny. Even if it doesn't work for you its just $60. Most of us would pay any amount of money to make out backs feel good again.
  • adkh2oskieradkh2oskier Posts: 209 Baller
    Skiing with bad back? Quit chasing buoys and free ski if you have access to a lake. Never have to worry about getting pulled over the bars or taking the big slack hit trying to get that one more buoy.
  • LakeboyWWKLakeboyWWK Posts: 26 Baller
    I've also had lower back issues in the past. Read everything you can by Dr. Stuart McGill especially his book called "The Back Mechanic".
  • dbskidbski Posts: 347 Mega Baller
    I ski with a RTP, really helps. Another way to reduce the stress of the deep water start is the jump start. If your site allows it, starting standing on your rear foot and jumping up just when the rope hits dramatically reduces the strain on your back. If you ski with the same driver most of the time you can get in a rhythm to the point where it's almost like starting standing on top of the water. At our site we have an area at both ends set up just to do this. The jump start has allowed my main ski partner to keep skiing after he really screwed up his back last year. He's so dependent on it that if he falls he gets back in the boat and we motor back to the end.
    Rick Bohn
  • drfreddrfred Posts: 12 New Baller
    It may be worth a look at the Goode power vest. It can be a bit awkward at first, particularly getting the strap length right but it really does help to unload your back. (Dave Goode developed it for his back issues) Abdominal exercises and yoga help (I use the old p90x ab ripper X and yoga and x stretch but don't overdo it (once a week for each)
  • MNshortlinerMNshortliner Posts: 273 Crazy Baller
    Could you post a video of your skiing? The reason I ask is because for years I would start to get some lower back issues now and again throughout the season, then, this year I changed posture/technique and have not had any lower back issues at all. I really exaggerated pushing my hips up and shoulders back which allows you to keep your back very straight.
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,366 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    Clearly what people have been saying above may help, but from a different prospective I would be asking why did this happen, I would be looking at the Ski, is it the correct size for your weight, should you go up a size, make and type of ski, maybe one that rides a little higher and requires less load.
    Depending a what level you are at there are skis out there that perform well, as well as being easier to ski on, allowing you to maintain good position.

    I know several skiers that had to stop skiing because of back issues, on the other hand I ski with somebody who is in the possession of the most horrendous x-ray I have ever seen, one side of his lower back has completely collapsed and looks like a plumbers S bend and he still skis into 35off.

    We are all individuals and adapt in different ways, I wish you success in getting back on the water.

    Looking Forward To Getting On The Water, It Has Been A Bleak Winter

  • bkreisbkreis Posts: 326 Solid Baller
    @countymountie skiing is intense and we need to as structurally strong yet mobile as possible. I do virtual training, if your interested, dm me
  • countymountiecountymountie Posts: 121 Baller
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I knew I had to strengthen my core, but I would have never thought that crunches would be bad for my back. I will be buying one of the support belts that was suggested in addition to working on my core.
  • ktm300ktm300 Posts: 453 Solid Baller
    I can't say that crunches are bad. Just be mindful that they can shorten RA. Despite the "6 pack" look of it, that is one muscle group. Planks and other stabilizing exercises are better. There are even body builders who do not do any crunches.

    One exercise that proved very helpful was walking with a 50lb weight in one hand hanging free by your side. Go till you are certain that you cannot hold that weight another second and then go some more. Switch hands and start again. Great for grip, lateral stabilization, traps, elongating those muscles that take the load from the boat. Of course, this assumes that your back healed enough to do this without pain.
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,782 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Three words: deadlift, deadlift, deadlift. Two more words: Brian Kreis. I used him remotely for years.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
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