|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
When Exercising Right Looks Wrong III (Back)
Hopefully, if you read my last article I got you thinking. Thinking about different ways to train, not necessarily using machines, but using your entire body with each exercise. We talked about the changes exercise science has brought about and the risks of continuing to train the way we currently do. Our bodies, as I alluded to, were not designed to be cramped into a one size fits all machine and forced to move in a specific pattern. That pattern unfortunately is single jointed, and those of us in the know understand that even putting food in your mouth requires 3 major and around 24 smaller joints. We need to train the same way that our body was designed to operate.
Back exercise is one of the scariest groups of improper exercise concepts that I know of. To fully understand the back is way beyond the scope of this article. The 'back' is considered the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine and all the supporting muscles. Some of these muscles are global, meaning they assist with movement of the trunk / torso. Some are stabilizers, meaning they aid in keeping the spinal joints in the proper alignment. Many of the muscles act as synergists, they help other muscles do their job. Many of the back muscles have numerous tasks. The Latissimus Dorsi or lat, for example is the only muscle in the body that has direct attachment on the shoulder and pelvis. Many of the thoracic or middle back muscles cross the thoracic and lumbar spines and attach into the pelvis and sacrum.
The eminent researcher Professor Stuart McGiIl states, "Evidence from tissue-specific injury generally supports the notion of a neutral spine (neutral lordosis) when performing loading tasks to minimize the risk of low back injury."
The spinal column, devoid of its musculature, has been found to buckle at a load of only 90 newtons (about 20 pounds) at LS.3,4 However, during routine activities, loads 20 times greater are encountered on a regular basis. Panjabi says, "This large load-carrying capacity is achieved by the participation of well coordinated muscles surrounding the spinal column."1 Spine stability is greatly enhanced by co-contraction of antagonistic trunk muscles (e.g., abdominal and extensor muscles). Co-contractions increase spinal compressive load, as much as 12% to 18%, or 44ON, but they increase spinal stability even more by 36% to 64%, or 2,925N.6 But when load is at a minimum, such as when the body is relaxed or a task is trivial, the motor control system is often "caught off guard" and injuries are precipitated.
Low back injury has been shown to result from repetitive motion at end range: According to McGiIl, it is usually a result of "a history of excessive loading which gradually, but progressively, reduces the tissue failure tolerance."
What the research shows is actually simple, we continually load our body, in faulty posture, to the end range of movement. This increases the forces on the spinal joints by hundreds of pounds. Over time the joints become so repetitively overstrained and damaged that injury from a trivial task is inevitable.
So what exercises help or hurt the back? The first thing to understand is that the paraspinal muscles are dominated by slow twitch muscle fibers which means there is no need to work extensor muscles for strength, rather focus on endurance or time under tension. This equates to stabilization type exercises for back strength, not thousands of repetitions of back extensions on various types of equipment. (spine 93) Try performing quadraped opposite arm and leg extension exercises, vary your hold times to target the paraspinal muscles. Add planks and side planks into your routine, but remember to always fire the glutes and maintain neutral spine. To strengthen the back, focus on always maintaining proper abdominal bracing and a lordotic lifting posture. This means that the best way to strengthen your back and abs for that matter is to change how you think. Every exercise you do is now a back and abdominal exercise. Perform your rows standing or sitting on a ball, keep your abs braced, head up, knees bent and shoulders back. For that matter, always keep the abs braced and the back flat, never round or hunch your shoulders. Do not lean back with the exercise, proper abdominal contraction will counter any extension moment and protect the back while strengthening the abs. Unfortunately the commercially made machines 'designed' to strengthen the back actually place repetitive stresses on the spine and disks while encouraging hyperextension. The best way to achieve a strong back is to build strong abs and lumbar muscles with high endurance and coordination. The back was never designed to be strong, it was designed to have high muscular endurance and lots of help from the abdominal wall and hips.
1. Panjabi MM. The stabilizing system of the spine. Part 1. Function, dysfunction, adaptation, and enhancement. / Spinal Disorders 1992;5:383-389.
2. McGiIl SM. Resource manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 3rd ed. Williams and Wilkins, 1998.
Bryan Fass, BA, ATCL, CSCS, NREMT-P
Precision Fitness is an advanced personal fitness, corrective exercise, post-rehabilitation, and sports performance facility with locations in Cornelius and Mooresville.
Tracking exercise associated with weight lose, better glucose control for patients - Science Daily (press release)
Exercise & Motivation, Part 2: Overcoming Inertia & Getting Started
In the first article in this series (http://tinyurl.com/8ztbo), we gave you an overview of the stages of change in Prochaska's Transtheoretical model.
Top 10 Tips For Finding Time For Exercise
If you're like most people, finding time for exercise is difficult. Here are my "top 10" tips to help you in that quest.
Do You Have A Fitness Battle Plan?
In fitness, as in war, you want to be on the offensive, not the defensive and this means that rather than reacting to maladies as they occur, far better to be in good general physical condition; preventive maintenance is preferable to remedial effort every time. One general rule of thumb I use is energy is the basic coin of the fitness realm and without it is damned difficult to mount any kind of serious fitness effort.
Get Fit From Home!
--------------------Things Around The House--------------------Don't feel that just because you don't have any weights at home, that you can't get a GREAT workout! Try using these items for the corresponding exercises. Change them around to increase or decrease the resistance to make it the perfect workout for YOU!· Backpack Swing- Take a backpack and fill it with books.
Exercise Is a Key to Good Health for All of Us
There's plenty of evidence that an essential component of a healthy life is physical activity. It has been shown that exercise has a positive effect on both your body and mind.
Salsa Dancing for Fitness is Hot
Salsa dancing is emerging as a refreshing replacement for conventional aerobic exercises. Classes based on the fiery music and movements of Salsa, Mambo, Cumbia, Merengue and more are starting to get people interested in Salsa dancing, while at the same time giving them a pounding workout.
Exercising - Ways of staying motivated!
The number one reason people say they do not exercise is lack of time. Not long ago, a twenty-year study was completed centering on the theory that, "There is not as much time in the day as there used to be.
The New Lover Approach to Starting an Exercise Program
Approach a New Exercise Program Like a New LoverHow many times have you decided to get back to some type of exercise program? You've bought gear, new shoes, new clothes, whatever is needed. You've set aside some time, and off you go.
Health Tips For Busy People: Healthy Diet & Exercise In the Office
Many women's lifestyle magazines frustrate us by providing exercise regimens for work and then adding: "You can do this exercise in your office!" What about those of us who work in a cube or other small space (with no floor space for Pilates-style stretches) that's not very private (do you really want your boss to wander by right when you're doing jumping jacks?). Even if you are cube-confined, you can maintain your health in a cube.
Who Else Wants To Get In Shape in 35 Minutes?
Most of the physical fitness trainers, and coaches agree thatdoing some sort of resistance training, and cardio training, setsup a good foundation for all around fitness. What most peoplelike to do is alternate days.
10 Best Workout Tips
Top Trainers share their secrets to getting slim, toned and strong in record time. It guarantees that you will see results in no time.
Exercise Tips: Move Your Body - Boost Your Productivity
Do you find yourself setting a New Year's Resolution (every year) to get fit/go to the gym/lose weight/drink more water? If you could answer yes to any of those. I totally understand.
The History of Pilates - It All Began With One Sickly Child
A look into the history of Pilates helps you understand the tremendous power that this form of exercise has to help strengthen and transform your body. Unlike yoga, which has a tradition that goes back thousands of years, one individual developed the Pilates Method at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Get Out and Play: Top 7 Outdoor Exercises
Do you remember when our parents used to yell at us to go outside and play? They would get so tired of us running around the house munching junk food and fighting with our siblings that they would practically kick us out of the house!Well, we may not have the same child-like activities lined up to get outside for anymore, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't still get out and enjoy the world! Exercising outdoors has many benefits, and they include the following:- Little or no equipment needed to get a good workout- No crowded gyms or obnoxious people to put up with- No driving time to the local fitness facility- No need to put on makeup or special clothing to workout at the gym- Vitamin D enhancing sunshine for our skin- The ability to workout anytime, anywhere - even on vacation- Two words: Fresh AirThere are probably other reasons that you can think of why an outdoor workout would fit into your particular lifestyle, so now all you have to do is learn what kind of activities can be done outside.Refer to the following Top 7 list of exercises that are sure to leave you sweaty, worn out, and feeling great when it's all over!LUNGESLike all exercises, lunges should be done with absolutely perfect form.
Strength Training FAQs
Do you need some beginner's strength training 'how to' information? I know you must have tons of questions. I will try my best to cover most of the beginner questions with this article.
Fitness the Goddess Way: Movement vs. Exercise
I was excited to hear the esteemed speakers at the Fall 2004 Omega Institute Conference. The "biggies" of the women's movement such as Gloria Steinem, today's best-selling authors and who's who of empowering women doing inspiring work were.
VO2 Max- Exposing the Myth
VO2 max is defined as the maximal amount of oxygen the body is able to extract and use to support work performed by the body. It is therefore an indirect measure of the aerobic power of the body, which is controlled by complex interactions between neural (brain and nervous system), cardiovascular (heart and lungs) and skeletal muscle factors.
Toning Your Abs - Common Exercising Myths
1. The 'Chew Then Crunch' MythCrunches are good exercises for toning the abs and stomach if done properly and combined with a low fat diet.
7 Reasons To Start Up With an Exercise Program
Most of us need to follow an exercise program. This is due to the fact that just a minority of Americans exercise in a significant way.
Debunking Common Exercise Myths, Part 1
Myth #1: Heavy weights make you "bulky"Heavy weights typically do not lead to increased muscle mass, moderate weights do. Muscle mass is more of a function of volume (ie.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.