Don’t put your back out while you work out!

The search for the body beautiful is more prevalent today than ever. Hit any fitness website and you’ll be inundated with motivational slogans pushing you to go faster, stronger and harder. While there is nothing wrong with staying fit, pushing yourself to near breaking point at the gym can come at a substantial cost. Whilst either lifting weights or hitting the wide variety of fitness and strength machines available, it’s your back that all too often bears the majority of the load.

Potential exercise related ‘back breakers’

Well defined abdominal muscles are the holy grail of an ideal physique, yet the endless sets of ab exercises required to attain them, assault your lower lumbar region as much as they do your stomach.

Contracting or extending your back muscles during weight training can result in ligament injuries and/or muscle strains. Some weight-centric exercises that can put extra strain on your back are: squats, deadlifts, rowing, pull-downs and overhead presses, to name a few.

There’s also pressure in weightlifting circles to lift heavier and heavier weights; needless to say, this means an increase in spinal injuries in the bodybuilding community. Other corners of the workout world are given to similar pressures; some people may feel compelled to run for longer periods, cycle harder or perform an aerobic exercise with more intensity.

Preventing back problems when you work out

First of all, it’s important to be one hundred percent honest about the condition of your back going in. In your eagerness to improve your physique, it’s easy to neglect that back problem that’s still bothering you. Back injury may be prevented by lifting less weight but performing more repetitions.

Supplementing muscle building workouts with cable or lever machines, rather than heavy weights, may relieve stress on your back. It’s important to note, however, that free weights can hone your balance and posture and may go some way to improving the strength of your back. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance and never overdo it.

Utilising a lifting belt may help take the pressure off your spine when you’re using heavy weights. Discussing your fitness goals with your Chiropractor may help when making decisions.

Working with an experienced training partner, personal trainer or a spotter if you’re lifting weights, may help to regulate the intensity with which you’re exercising. It’s also good to have a second set of eyes looking out for your posture, form and overall performance.

When you’re striving to reach your fitness goals, never do so at the expense of your back. If you’re experiencing issues such as lower back pain or even neck stiffness or shoulder pain during or prior to working out, seeing a Chiropractor may help. Enquire or make a booking at www.mychiro.com.au

Photo: Bodybuilding – Credit to https://www.semtrio.com/ by Semtrio licensed under Creative commons 2

Dr. Steven Lockstone


Dr Steven is a Sydney Chiropractor in Bondi Junction with 21 years clinical experience.

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