Building blocks of the game
Though it rarely gets any glory, any serious builder (or laborer for that matter) knows that the lower back is the alpha and omega when it comes to lifting heavy weights. As a former construction worker and bag thrower in the airline industry, I can tell you firsthand how important the lower back is in moving weights in a dynamic motion.
As bodybuilders we’re constantly doing compound movements and putting pressure on our lower back, when that starts to go we lose the stability we need to progress or even maintain. Nobody wants to be a victim, protect your bodybuilding investment with these 4 ways to strengthen your lower back.
There are two golden rules when it comes to protecting your lower back
-Keep your back straight
-Allow flexion in the bottom position of a lift, just know your limits.
-Keep good posture, even when you walk.
Now that we’ve got all of the precautions out of the way, let’s get at it. Some of the exercises below have been intentionally modified to concentrate on the lower back; they can also be modified to concentrate on the glutes.
Back raise with band
What’s great about this exercise is that the band provides resistance on the way up as well as the way down. Increasing as the band stretches and decreasing as you go back to starting position. Do this movement at a controlled but swift speed as your lower back must be able to handle speed and weight in an isolation exercise if it’s going to be able to handle it at high bar speed. Feel free to add weights via kettlebell or dumbbell for extra resistance.
Besides making every part of your deadlift stronger, this exercise forces you to maintain body awareness and keep your back flat with an anteriorly tilted pelvis in the deficit position, you’ll become better at maintaining good lumbopelvic posture when deadlifting from the floor. This increased lumbopelvic control will make you less likely to get injured when pulling heavy. Start with low weights with a 1-2 inch deficit then slowly work your way up. FORM FORM FORM is everything in this exercise.
Single leg back extension
Everyone has one side of their body that’s stronger than the other. The singe leg back extension is a good way for figuring it out. Concentrate on strengthening the deficit on either side for a solid healthy back.
It is known as a good morning because of the movement in the erector spinae which resembles the rise out of bed to stretch. The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform hip extension. Other muscles are involved in stabilizing weight on the back and maintaining balance.
Try to keep your knees straight as the straighter the knees, the more the hamstrings are stretched and stressed by the movement and this stretch involves them more as the hip extensors.
There you have it, the 4 exercise that will keep your lower back, healthy, fit, and strong and lead to massive gains in the process.