Without specifics, I’m guessing from the general freedom of choice provided by the physician that “issues,” means a history of minor back injuries, perhaps recurring chronically, but that there is no significant pathology or current symptoms.
In these cases, you can simply train each body part to deliver more of its main characteristic in movement. This would mean that the focus of training for the lumbar and cervical spine would be on stability (while not compromising mobility). Similarly, the focus of training for the shoulder, thoracic spine and hips would be on mobility (while not compromising stability.)
Exercises featuring shoulder, thoracic spine, and hip movement in all three planes of movement while teaching the client to maintain cervical and lumbar neutral will give him a good education in how to successfully link body parts to create movement where the stress is placed on the proper muscles rather than on joints or vertebral surfaces.
Start with minimal load exercises on the floor and progress to standing body weight exercises and then finally to exercises with external load.
Minimal Load Exercises : Glute Bridge, Supine Opposite Arm & Leg Extension (commonly referred to as a “Dead Bug” exercise), Quadruped Opposite Arm & Leg Extension (commonly referred to as a “Bird Dog” exercise), planks (but not static planks – train this client for movement!) See ACE video “Plank School” for ideas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdcy7VrRluA
Standing Body Weight Exercises (featuring “everyday life” loads like medicine balls, light kettlebells or dumbbells, or sandbells):
· Lunge with forward reach
· Squat with arm shift (in almost any direction)
· Body wieight pushes and pulls (push-up and rows using elevated bars, surfaces , or suspension trainers to adjust intensity accordingly to allow for successful performance)
See ACE article “5 Variations of Traditional Bodyweight Exercises” for more ideas https://www.acefitness.org/blog/3263/5-variations-of-traditional-bodyweight-exe
External Load :
Here is where you could use more traditional exercises with external load. However, I would avoid axial loading (eg. Placing a barbell across the client’s shoulders) as this would greatly increase compressive forces directly into the spine.