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Training lower back / core
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tmplcrg


Mar 24, 2011, 12:47 PM
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Training lower back / core
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Hey all,

I'm hoping to get some tips for training / exercises that target the lower back and core region, and that can be performed without using your arms. I'm about 4 months into a forced hiatus from climbing due to an elbow tendon injury that I am nursing. In the meanwhile I've lost a lot of strength in my back, not surprisingly. I've been trying to do some general weight lifting to maintain strength, but as I cannot pull with any significant force (no pull-ups, only very light lat pulls, no rowing, etc..) I can't do too much other than back extensions. I've tried some pilates exercises as well, but none of this really seems to be helping maintain my back strength. I really can't wait to get climbing again.

Any ideas? Would yoga help in any way?

Thanks.


rtwilli4


Mar 29, 2011, 2:48 AM
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Re: [tmplcrg] Training lower back / core [In reply to]
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Get one of these.



Not the girl... but the ball. Excellent for strengthening the core.


spikeddem


Mar 29, 2011, 7:06 AM
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Find a new hobby for four months.


krusher4


Mar 29, 2011, 7:10 AM
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Re: [tmplcrg] Training lower back / core [In reply to]
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I do yoga, I think its a nice cross training/rest day activity. Plus the fem's in class make it nice, I say try it because you have nothing else to do.
Also buy a PS3 or X-Box, that has really helped me get through healing in the past.


Partner jammer


Mar 29, 2011, 9:51 AM
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Re: [tmplcrg] Training lower back / core [In reply to]
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Try doing a variation of set ups and crunches on a declining bench.


mr.tastycakes


Mar 29, 2011, 11:01 AM
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rtwilli4, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Thanks for that!


aerili


Mar 29, 2011, 4:22 PM
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Re: [tmplcrg] Training lower back / core [In reply to]
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Look, you really need to differentiate between your upper and lower back training and how each set of muscles works. You are asking for lower back training in your title ... but then you describe how you cannot train UPPER back exercises. (Lower back muscles do not require ANY arm action and do not in any way attach to the humerus.)

I think you want UPPER back training but are not wording this correctly.

The unfortunate thing about your condition is that you will need to accept some deconditioning in your upper back. Most upper back work that does not involve compound movements with the arms revolves around stabilization of the shoulder blades, and this type of training will not necessarily maintain the strength for compound movements very well (especially in the lats).

I would train each side individually when using your arms during exercises. Use a fairly normal weight for the uninjured side and a lighter, appropriate weight with the bad arm.

Some Pilates exercises do work the back really hard if you know how to do them right and push HARD. For instance, the "saw" exercise can work the beejesus out of your middle and lower traps and rhomboids.

Try some prone straight-arm extensions to target triceps and lats. Hopefully you won't feel any stress in your elbow with these, but see what happens.


tmplcrg


Mar 31, 2011, 1:54 AM
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Thanks for the information. @aerili: I have lost strength just about everywhere thanks to the time-off, but I feel that the effect is greatest in my lower back. The thing is that I have never really seriously trained for strength - I just climbed a lot for the fun of it and the strength was a pleasant side effect. So, I don't really know how to target specific muscle areas when using weights or resistance machines. I am pretty certain that rowing-type motions work your lower back, but those require you to also pull against a weight, and i couldn't think of other exercises to perform. Anyway, I have been reading more about pilates and that seems to be a nice substitute for the meantime. It might be something to do regularly alongside climbing anyway. The place I am going to lift weights offers some classes so I will try those out. I doubt the few moves I have tried already were being performed properly.

@rtwilli4: Your solution seems to be the best as long as I get everything advertised :)


aerili


Mar 31, 2011, 2:42 PM
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Re: [tmplcrg] Training lower back / core [In reply to]
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tmplcrg wrote:
I am pretty certain that rowing-type motions work your lower back, but those require you to also pull against a weight, and i couldn't think of other exercises to perform.

No, rowing exercises target your upper back. See, that was what I was trying to tell you: I do not think you understand fundamentally the motions the upper back and lower back musculature perform.

Certainly the lower back will contract to some degree during most upper back exercises, but only for spinal stabilization, NOT for actual motion in the arms and shoulder girdle occurring.

I think taking some classes at your gym would be a most excellent idea. It will help you better understand what I am trying to explain here. Good luck.


onceahardman


Mar 31, 2011, 5:01 PM
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Just to flesh out aerili's excellent posts a bit...lumbar spine musculature mostly lies posterior to the axis of rotation of the lumbar spine. As such, those muscles primarily extend the lumbar spine. Extensions are a very suitable exercise to improve extension strength.

Flexion of the lumbar spine is performed mostly by the abdominals. Sidebending is largely performed by unilateral firing of quadratus lumborum, a major extensor. Rotation is performed mostly by the abs as well.

There are some very deep, small, fatigue resistant spinal muscles, but these are mostly stabilizers, You fire them by walking, standing up, and generally by being active.

Figure out exactly what you want to strengthen first, then either figure out how to strengthen it yourself, or write back. There are plenty of people around here (none better than aerili) who will be willing to help.


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