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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: 11ducks on June 03, 2017, 05:38:08 AM

Title: Fit or sporty MMM's- exercises for strengthening back/core
Post by: 11ducks on June 03, 2017, 05:38:08 AM
I pulled a muscle in my lower back doing tyre flips at my boot camp today; totally my fault, I was fatigued and neglected to tense correctly. I've had the same injury 4-5 times over the past 5 years, my lower back is definitely a weak area for me. Now I've got a few days of tenderness ahead of me.

I'm fairly fit, normal weight, and exercise 5x a week, a mix of gym, bootcamp-style weights/body weight/endurance stuff, plus running and dance. My upper and lower body are strong, unfortunately this means
I tend to overuse them when exercising to compensate for my weak middle and lower back and abdominal area, so it isn't getting stronger.


Can any fit mustachians suggest exercises that will isolate/strengthen this area effectively without risking more injury? My squat form is ok, but when doing things like deadlifts i end up using arms/thighs more than my back. Thanks! *hobbles off for ice/heat*


Title: Re: Fit or sporty MMM's- exercises for strengthening back/core
Post by: kpd905 on June 03, 2017, 06:55:36 AM
One that will isolate the lower back is good mornings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xj6XUa77qc

There is really no way to use other muscles to cheat on this one.
Title: Re: Fit or sporty MMM's- exercises for strengthening back/core
Post by: Laura33 on June 03, 2017, 08:24:56 AM
First, have you been checked out by a doctor or chiropractor?  I have a similar recurring issue, and it turns out I have a curve in my spine that creates an imbalance.  For me, the "fix" has been flexibility more than strength -- since one set of muscles is always flexed and the other always stretched, seeing a chiropractor and doing yoga and stretches and the occasional sports-focused massage has made a huge difference, along with giving up the specific exercise that exacerbated it (e.g. running).  For me, flexibility + lifting with proper form to build those muscles (deadlift, cleans) has been an almost magical fix.  Except for this week when I overdid the rowing machine and set myself off again, grrr.

Other than that, I'd say see a chiropractor or physical therapist and get a list of specific exercises to target your particular issues -- they tend to be more boring (the cat/cow thing, superman, etc.), but if you stick with it, it helps.

And Pilates.
Title: Re: Fit or sporty MMM's- exercises for strengthening back/core
Post by: SheepDog on June 03, 2017, 08:34:29 AM
Also make sure you don't have any disc problems!  I had the same feelings you describe for like 5 years, especially after back and leg days.  Ended up being two bulging discs in my low back.

In addition to strengthening your low back muscles, also make sure you are working on your other core muscles as well.  Planks, hanging leg raises, crunches, etc.  All those muscles help stabilize the spine during movement.  Youtube "low back core workout".

I don't know what your day job is, but if you sit around in a chair or couch a lot, I'll bet my entire life savings you have tight hip flexor muscles!  The main hip flexor muscles attach from the top of your thigh bone directly to the lower vertebrae in your back.  If they are tight, they will put additional strain on your back and could cause soreness.  Look up lunge stretches and the "couch stretch."

Strengthening my core and stretching made my daily pain go away by about 90%. 

Good luck!
Title: Re: Fit or sporty MMM's- exercises for strengthening back/core
Post by: adizb on June 03, 2017, 08:43:04 AM
i love doing rack pulls for lower back, now im not sure if it would be good to do after an injury but if you feel better definitely try it. It looks kinda weird, like a cheat deadlift i guess, but it works great.
Title: Re: Fit or sporty MMM's- exercises for strengthening back/core
Post by: trix76 on June 03, 2017, 09:12:56 AM
I've had low back issues on and off for years, and according to the PT I'm seeing now, part of the problem is tight chest muscles, from sitting at a computer all day. I've gotten a lot of relief from lying on a foam roller (under my spine, not across my body) and doing "snow angels." Doesn't seem like it should help but it does. Also some fire hydrant leg lifts and clamshells to strengthen outer glutes. Good luck!


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Title: Re: Fit or sporty MMM's- exercises for strengthening back/core
Post by: jmwagner5 on June 03, 2017, 10:32:56 AM
I've gotten a lot of relief from lying on a foam roller (under my spine, not across my body) and doing "snow angels." Doesn't seem like it should help but it does.

+1 to this.  It really does wonders to help stretch out your spine.  I also enjoy doing different exercises to work on core strength and balance while on a foam roller.

Planks and side planks are also incredibly useful for core strength.  Just make sure to keep the spine and pelvis in neutral position so you are not stressing out already weak areas.