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Strength Changes Everything

Oct 26, 2022

Join us for this replay from the archives to learn more about effective exercise for your lower back and what can surprisingly make lower back pain worse...


In part two of the interview with Dr. James Fisher, we explore what it takes to actually strengthen the lower back and why exercises like the deadlift are not effective in targeting your lower back muscles. Find out how some people can experience significant lower back strength gain in as little as ten weeks with only 15 total minutes of muscle tension (60 to 90 seconds per week!) and why stretching without strength training can actually make your lower back pain worse.

  • The lower back is a notoriously difficult to train muscle group, which is why so many people are walking around with weak lower backs that are easy to injure and irritate.
  • Fisher did some research with professional athletes to measure the effectiveness of certain exercises in strengthening the lower back and found that exercises that didn’t isolate the lower back didn’t make a major impact. However, lower back isolating exercises had a greater impact over more general exercises like the deadlift.
  • The lower back needs an isolation exercise and preferably one that doesn’t also load the gluteal muscles. These exercises are best done with lower back specific pieces of equipment.
  • In terms of overall strength, people who do lumbar exercises see significant increases in strength. Dr. Fisher has seen lumbar strength increases as high as 200% over the course of ten weeks, as well as improved lifestyle function, with a training frequency of once per week.
  • Lower back exercises are typically just one set and roughly 90 seconds of muscle tension.
  • The lumbar muscles are an example of how you can use your muscles and still lose them due to the deleterious effects of aging. You need to use specific muscle fibers in a specific manner in order to build the strength in your lower back.
  • Stretching can be taken too far if you are not also strengthening the muscles involved. Making your spine and back more mobile without making it stronger can make things worse for you in the long run. Things like yoga should be supplemental to a proper strength training regime.
  • Lower back pain often restricts range of motion, but there are still opportunities to train the muscle group without a full extension. You can start small and expand the range as you get stronger.
  • People with lower back pain also tend to be cautious about moving their lower back, especially during exercise. This is why lower back machines that control the range of motion are effective. They maintain safety and stability while loading the muscles properly.
  • In terms of age, lower back exercises are suited to pretty much everyone in society except for certain individuals; ex. If you’re pregnant, a small child, or have an injured spine. Once you’ve ruled out those conditions, you can safely and confidently strengthen the lower back.
  • The more we know about our body, the more we know how to fix it. Helping identify the source of lower back pain, as well as what isn’t the issue, is all part of the journey of alleviating pain and improving quality of life.





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