Q: I am particularly injury prone and experience a lot of lower back pain. How can I tailor my workouts to my strength and injury prone ways?!

Unless you have been diagnosed (and let’s  be honest, even sometimes even when you have been diagnosed) with a particular reason for your symptoms, your reasons for these things are going to be the same as almost every other person, and like almost every other person, you may not like my answer. Because it means you CAN ABSOLUTELY do something about it, but you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO actually do those things about it.

What is most likely causing your injuries and lower back pain?

A combination of one or maybe all of these things.

  1. Improper form and repetition of this improper form time and time and time again.

    1. (Under this category I am also going to put using too much weight, too little weight, moving too fast through a movement, and not making the muscle mind connection during said movements.)

  2. Mobility issues.

  3. Weak glutes.

  4. Muscle Imbalances

  5. Overuse of some muscles, underuse of others.

 

What can you do about it?

A LOT! You just have to be honest with yourself about what you are currently doing, and actually make the change.

For instance-are you doing group fitness classes that “kick your ass” 3-5 times a week?  but in every single one of those classes you’re squatting, doing pushups, doing sprints, doing burpees, but not necessarily also doing deadlifts, pull ups, lateral lunges, and planks?  And even more-do you understand why what I just named is a problem? If no...that could be a problem.

This alone could check off a lot of those boxes we put up for why you might be “injury prone.”

You see, getting your ass kicked, and responsibility training and strengthening your body are not mutually exclusive.

Can you tell this gets me fired up? Because it does!

Let’s go through one by one.

 

Improper form

This one is kinda a no duh. If you are moving incorrectly you can strain and/or irritate joints or tissue. This is going to not only cause pain but can also go as far as to damage bones and ligaments. Depending on how bad you allow it to get (how much you continue to perform this movement with bad form) it can lead to further pain and sometimes the inability to move the injured joint. Your body is going to find the path of least resistance, so even if you have this pain but keep doing the movement, you’ll find a way to work around it, causing even more damage.

WHAT TO DO:

Learn the right form. Body can’t do that right form? Learn a variation of the exercise that allows you to strengthen the same muscle, but in a way your body agrees with.

EXAMPLE: You cannot back squat. Try a front squat, a goblet squat, a bodyweight squat, a split squat.

 

Mobility Issues

So what is causing this bad form? It may be your lack of mobility through a given joint. Mobility issues are going to make it so you are unable to move through a complete range of motion (think hips below knee joint in a squat), causing pain, as well as the inability to fully feel and utilize the muscles you are meant to.

What to do:

To really fix mobility issues, one  would have to do a movement screen with a professional so they could see from the outside where these issues arise from, and then focus in on each individual point to fix it. Most commonly, one finds mobility issues in their shoulders, hips, ankles,and  thorasic spine. Remember mobility is not the same as flexibility.

Without the help of a personal trainer, Yoga can be useful, as can sites likehttps://app.romwod.com/.

 

Weak Glutes

The glutes are you powerhouse. They help us do everything from walk and jump, to stand and stabilize. If your glutes are weak you are putting excess stress on your lumbar spine and hips.

What to do:

Strengthening your glutes through glute specific movements with proper form will help you stand longer, with better posture, and help you better through everyday movements. Also building a glute program that is well rounded (not just squats) will help you fix the following issue..check out THIS instagram post here

 

Muscle Imbalances & Overuse

Going back to the original paragraph. Are you doing too much of one thing and not enough of another? Remember your body is not just one big lump. Right side and left side, front and back, top and bottom, etc.  If you are only pulling and not pushing, you might be experiencing a very tight posterior chain, with no strength in the front of your body. A well rounded program should leave you balanced and strong in equal parts on each side of your body.

What to do:

Unilateral movements. Offset movements. And refer back to issue 003.

 

And hey, after reading all this if you still wanna say “nahh its just MY body and it’ll always be this way!” well, at least give these steps a try!

Rae ReichlinComment