Building a Bulletproof Back

Building a Bulletproof Back

In today’s society so many people suffer from a bad back, especially chronic lower back pain, and its no surprise why.  The epidemic of lower back pain is a fairly recent event, but unfortunately the reality of lower back pain is becoming increasingly worse. Back pain is the number 1 reason for a person to miss work and it is the 2nd most common reason for a person to visit a doctor. These are pretty scary statistics when you consider all of the various diseases in the world and yet chronic back pain is still nearly top of the list. So why have our lower backs suddenly gone so wrong after millions of years of evolutionary development?

Well if you look at the bigger picture and how our modern world has evolved you may ask yourself, how active are we these days compared to say just 50 years ago, and what about the increasing problem of obesity? Just theses two things alone have and are contributing to a high percentage of chronic back problems. The human race is sedentary, we have cars that take us to our work, we then sit at a desk for 8 hours a day come back home in our cars and relax in front of the television for the rest of the evening.  So is it any wonder our core muscles, that support our midsection and lower back, are so weak. The amount of times I have had clients referred by a physio telling them to strengthen their core muscles to elevate their lower back pain. The problem with sitting all day is that gravity naturally pushes down on the shoulders, head and neck forcing you into a slouched position and, after 8 hours a day 5 days a week for several years your posture has now changed, your shoulders have now fallen forward, your lower back is more rounded than before and your lower back pain is now worse than ever and, I haven’t even mentioned the extra 10 – 20lbs in weight that you have put on in the last 5 years making your condition even more debilitating.

So what can we do to prevent this from ever happening in the first place? Exercise has been proven to be one of the most effective way of strengthening the lower back and when I say exercises I don’t mean a brief 20 mins on the Crosstrainer or a brisk walk, although still much better than sitting on the couch for the rest of the evening. A combination of resistance work, core and cardio will create a balance between the muscle groups and helping to correct bad posture. It is so unfortunate that doctors will so willing prescribe drugs to treat the pain and inflammation but completely over look the reason the back pain is there in the first place. To treat is to get to the root of the problem first. At least a physio will tell a patient this is the reason why you have lower back pain and this is what you need to do to stop this from happening.

As I have highlighted the problem and before I go into a rant, I wanted to recommend exercises that in my opinion will build a bullet proof back for life. The exercises are fairly advanced, so if you are new to free weights, please have an exercise professional take you through these before going it alone.  Additionally, my partner, Marianne has written an article, “Building a STRONG Back and Core“ that demonstrates exercises geared more towards the beginner, or for those who prefer not to use weight.

Another form of exercise that is very beneficial for strengthening the back and core muscles, and also works on flexibility, is kettlebell training. When using kettlebells during exercises like the swing, the hips, hamstrings and core all work together to perform the movement, this is also known as functional training which is very beneficial for our daily lives. Kettlebells also create a lot of stability through all the joints with the added benefit of challenging the cardio-vascular system, so it is the equivalent of resistance and cardio rolled into one (Highly recommended), but as with all new forms of exercise seek out an exercise professional to teach you proper form and technique.

Below are great exercises for strengthening the lower back.

I myself have been having lower back pain over the past two weeks, a mix between my habbit of arching my back during shoulder presses and sitting at a desk 12 hours a day!

Never really done rack deadlifts, have to give this a try thanks. I usually do deadlifts, good-mornings and hyper extensions for my lower back.

Well if you have already implemented deadlifts, hyper’s and good mornings this should help greatly, another thing to try is a wobble disc or also known as a stability disc, place this on your chair at work and when seated onto the disc will force you to correct your posture, now im not suggesting you sit on the disc all day, but for a few hours will also help to strengthen your core.

I love ,love ,love deadlifts! Of all the powerlifting exercises this is my favorite. One other exercise that I’ve discovered has in the last 8 months helped with my low back pain is abdominal work. After so many years of exercising I never really did pay attention to doing my ab work. In doing my weight exercises I did have a strong core but not as much as I do now since I’ve added core work to my routines. In the last year or so the dull ache in my low back became a bit unbearable, so I started working out my abdominals trying to build a stronger base. What a difference! Pain free. I’m a 51 year old woman just trying to stay healthy and strong. (thankfully I am) Thank you for all the interesting information. It is much appreciated.

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