80% of the population will experience back pain and low back issues in their life. That is a staggering percentage. Not only do the majority suffer from back pain, but it is highly likely to result in other dysfunctions in the body. It is mind blowing to me that many of us haven’t figured out that the body should be treated as a whole. When you have shoulder impingement you can’t just treat your shoulder. You have to strengthen all surrounding muscles, which happen to have their own surrounding muscles — the body needs to be viewed as a whole. And while you may think you know what the center of the body is, I think most of you will not. Did you guess the core? You’re right. But did you know “the core” is not just considered your abdominals? It is comprised of your lower back, your intrinsic stabilizers, and the abdominals. Did you also know your abdominals connect from the top of your rib cage all the way down to your pelvis?
When I practiced as a sports massage therapist, I had clients tell me they were having pain in their groin, they had no idea it could be tension referring from their upper back. Did you know muscle tension can even cause tooth aches? It’s true.
As a woman who has suffered from Diastasis Recti, I knew I wanted to build my training around the core. Think of it as the foundation of a house. With a solid concrete basement (the core), you can create solid secondary floors (your arms and legs). Anything else is ass-backwards and will either lead to muscular imbalances and/or dysfunction, and ultimately injury.
So what do you do?
Fuck all the gimmicks out there. Do bodyweight exercises, lift heavy, don’t ignore your restorative/yoga days. And learn proper mechanics.
One of the big reasons I deadlift, aside from how strong it makes me feel, is because it strengthens and challenges the entire body. The day after I lift heavy, my entire body is sore — quads, glutes, abs, obliques, shoulders, arms…nah mean?
If you’re new to deadlifting, weightlifting, or have previously hurt your back — these half lifts are for you. Even if you’re a seasoned weight-lifter, this is a great way to hyper focus on the core.
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The first thing you want to do is find a suitable weight for you. If you’re in the first population of indivuals that are prone to back injury or you haven’t lifted before, we are focusing toward endurance + muscle growth.
Find a weight that is challenging to finish 12-15 reps. You’ll perform 12 reps x 3 sets.
1st set: 12 repetitions
60 seconds of rest
2nd set: 12 repetitions
60 seconds of rest
3rd set: 12 repetitions
If you are a seasoned lifter or do bodyweight workouts, we are going for strength. Find a weight that is challenging for 6-8 reps.
- begin with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, facing forward
- make sure your hands are placed evenly apart in distance across the bar, they should also be shoulder width apart
- as you lift the bar, focus on using your legs and glutes — imagine your hands are just a way to carry the weight, your lower body is driving the force
- engage abdominals
- stand up straight in one swift controlled motion, squeeze your glutes at top of lift
- keep shoulders away from ears
- bend over forward, imagine a book being placed on your back [for yogis, this is the same position as a half lift]
- the bar should be just below the knee
repeat in quick succession
Have more exercises you want to see? Let me know below!