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getting a strong lower back.

I slipped a disc in my lower back when I was in the Marines at the tender age of 19. Since then it has given me problems, more or less, consistently. I’ve probably only really badly put it out 5 or 6 times in the past 21 years but it does loom, spectre like, in the back of my mind most of the time. Like an idiot it has also made me avoid much in the way of direct, hard lower back training which has only exacerbated the problem and created imbalances throughout my body. I firmly believe that as long as your exercise form is perfect and you’re not currently injured then exercises like deadlifts, romanians, good mornings, back extensions and rack pulls will only help to improve the health of your lower back. Making the muscles stronger, more flexible and better at moving with resistance through various planes of movement is, at the end of the day, precisely what physiotherapy tries to do. We are going to do the same thing, just with massive lumps of iron.
Remember though that this is not a cure for a bad back and if done while carrying an injury it will only make it worse. It should, however, make your back less prone to injury if done carefully. As an old fart with a crook back – if it’s feeling a bit stiff on a deadlift day then I won’t do full deads but maybe try partials or machine deadlifts or, possibly, skip them altogether and have a nice pie instead.

My lower back session;

5 mins cycling

Mobility drills – squats, lunges, overhead squats and lunges, snatches, romanians, sott presses and anything else I can remember to include.

Rack pulls – sets of 3 reps working up to 260kg. Could have gone heavier but why take the risk, there will always be other workouts.

Deadlifts – done from the floor for 1 set of 10 reps with 140kg just to keep the mobility.

Romanians – done for 1 set of 10 reps with 100kg for the flexibility.

Good mornings – I supersetted these with some lat pulldowns. 5 sets of 10 reps working up to 120kg on the good mornings.

If you have a back injury always work within your boundaries. Going the extra mile, pushing the envelope, digging deeper and taking it to the limit are all laudable sentiments but if you fuck yourself up it means that you’ll miss 30 workouts rather then being slightly cautious for 1.

Yours not in traction,
Dave.

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