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Why avoiding leg exercises at the gym will lead you to lower back complaints?

Why avoiding leg exercises at the gym will lead you to lower back complaints?

 

This should be so self explanatory, that it should need not to be covered. However for the majority of gym going males, the drive for a strong upper body physique almost equals the lack of desire to tough it out on the lower body exercises.

 

To allay concerns that this article has a sexist tone in that it is directed to males - we only need to remind you of the masculine looking male walking on the beach in tracksuit pants. Great upper body physique out on show, with the tracksuit pants hiding the chicken legs.  Women tend to hold more focus on how their legs look and are a lot more vigilant in training both their upper and lower body.

 

Lets face it squats are tough, as are dead lifts. They are full compound exercises that work the major muscle groups of the body. Body builders are obsessed with them, as they are well aware of the knock on benefits to all areas of the body that come with mastering these lower body exercises. The ametuer gym goer is typically short of time, resulting in the lower part of the body being neglected.

 

Neglecting the lower body, whilst increasing both muscle size and strength does not only create an ascetical imbalance, it creates a major postural imbalance that often leads to lower back complaints.  If you think of the major leg and hip muscles as the base or foundation that supports the upper body, then it only makes sense that if the upper body is becoming heavier and producing more powerful movements, then the base/ foundation needs to be stronger.

 

The biomechanical side effects of having a stronger and heavier upper body, with a weakened under trained mid region and lower body:

 

  • Weakened major postural such as gluteus maximus, hamstrings and adductors fail to support the weight of the upper body.
  • The body compensates with an anterior pelvic tilt due to instability
  • The anterior pelvic tilt results in the majority of the person's body weight placed on the muscles forward on the midline.
  • The anterior muscles such as the hip flexors and deep internal rotators of the hips become overloaded and shortened.
  • Weak posterior muscles, tight anterior muscles and an anterior pelvic tilt results causes the lumbar spine to excessively curve (hyperlordotic).
  • A hyperlordotic curve compromises the joints, muscles, intervertebral discs and the fascia of the lower back.
  • Postural weaknesses and imbalances result in the lower back not being supported one the person is in an upright position and moving.
  • The lack of support for the back and the compromised structures due to hyperlordosis eventually result in an injury that can be long lasting.  

 

So the message it quite clear, if you want to avoid back pain, train your body. Sure lower body exercises can be tough, and can be time consuming when lifting heavy. However you will be thankful in the long run. We have added some tips below, to try ensure you get the best results with the minimum amount of time and effort spent :)

 

Tips to incorporating lower body exercises into your regime:

  1. Leverage your time, forget isolation exercises, functional compound movements such as  squats and deadlifts are all you need to do.
  2. Do the hard yards early, then maintain. Build up to at least your own body weight.
  3. Work in the power range: maximal output, max reps of 5, 3-4 sets. And here's the big pay off - providing you’re training with intensity, 1 session per week of power training is more than adequate.  
  4. Maintain with a weight you are comfortable with (at or above your own body weight). This will avoid longer rest periods between sets, and obviously save you busting your guts each and every leg session.

 

  


   

 

 
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