"I will try and make this as quick as possible. First I have a BS Degree in Nutrition and Food Science. I am now on disability due to a CNS disease, but to keep it simple is ataxia (many different symptoms and levels of progression) no cure.

"I have loved weight lifting for 20 or more years (41 now). In 2005 and 2006 I had 2separate back surgeries: L4 L-5 area herniated discs. It blew out again July 2007, then 2 more times on December 24, 2007 and then July 2008 (July seems to be a bad month).

"I do have a 3rd surgery scheduled tentatively (a fusion this time) in May. I still lift: chest 1 day, biceps 1 day and triceps 1 day. I am going back for a final visit the 15th of April with the neurosurgeon. Maybe to delay and see if I could go about 3 months longer and see a physical therapist to see what leg and abdominal exercises I could train before surgery that may help with a quicker recovery.

"I cannot lift super heavy maybe ever again, but at 6 feet I stay at 180 to 185 at most. If you were giving advice on this what might you suggest? The ataxia does limit certain lifting that requires balance, because ataxia messes with the motor skills section of the brain. Sorry for the length of the email."

-Ryan Milton

My Answer: That's a real tough situation to be in, Ryan. If you're seeing a physical therapist, then go with what your PT tells you as far as exercise. When you're training, you're training to maintain your proprioceptive abilities and to prevent muscular atrophy. So I would avoid free weight exercises that would put you in a precarious position (squats being an obvious example). A combination of bodyweight exercises (for proprioception) and machines (for hypertrophy) would be the way I would go. Plus you may want to include some upper back work to balance out your chest and avoid postural problems, which would aggravate the effects of ataxia.

"I'm Waqas. I'm 30 years old. I've been exercising for the last year. I need to improve my chest, so please send me details on how to improve my chest. I will be very thankful to you."

Ammed Waqas

My Answer: Buy my first book Strength and Physique Volume One and Amazon will send you details on how to improve your chest. Once you do that, then I will be very thankful to you.
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