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Leg strength training can destroy your lower back

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:10pm

Lower back injuries, specifically  the region of the lumbar spine is an area that is easily susceptible to disc compression, nerve root impingement and facet syndrome.  When performing exercises from the vertical position it is imperative to keep the spine C-1 to S-1 in a straight non rounded posture. This can often become difficult if you suffer from excessively tight calve, hamstring and gluteal muscle.  The end result is “butt winking”, a thoracic rounding and/or an anterior pelvic tilt greater than 15 degrees.  The end result is extreme focal points of pressure which can squeeze the intervetebral disc’s out of alignment, often a posteriorly. Moreover, between each vertebrae, facets which are the bony wing-like structures  which run up and down the  vertebral column often impale soft  inter-cavernous tissue. The end result in an acute very painful, debilitating, inflammatory response which can keep you flat on your back and out of the gym.

To reduce the likelihood of one of these injuries,  leg specific stretching routines must be performed before during and after an aggressive leg workout. The culprit muscles which must be stretched are the quadriceps,gluteals, hamstrings, hip flexors and the two muscles of the calve known as the gastrocnemius and soleus. It is also beneficial to perform a mild core workout to encourage spine stability.

If you make a contentious effort to bring these muscle groups back to their acceptable resting length, then you will stay pain free. (remember strength training makes muscles condense and often inflexible) I have worked with numerous very lean athletes who are exponentially  more powerful than the average man.  It is not unusual to see a cyclical pattern of injuries when the athlete omits the critically important between set stretches. I myself have suffered from numerous lower back injuries due to lack of leg inflexibility.

It is VERY important to understand your bodies deficiencies in terms of strength and inflexibility. It is important for the athletic trainer / fitness specialist to take baseline  measurements of all the leg angles of flexibility in all planes. Every 4-6 weeks re-evaluate for improvement.  

A well designed leg conditioning program must be built around a safe and bio mechanically sound exercise prescription. Unfortunately not all fitness specialists are built the same and some therefore ignore the medical and potential injury effects of poor exercise design. 

Somagenesis health and fitness trainers have strong foundations in medical anatomy physiology and application. For more information on how to create the perfect leg conditioning and flexibility  prescription, contact us as  or call 760-271-3064 .

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