Tag Archives: back exercises

Are you strong enough to slow down?

When it comes to exercise, most people either do too much or too little. I think this applies beyond exercise, but let’s stick with that for the moment.

Those of us in the fitness and nutrition fields write a lot about those who do too little, in the hopes of helping fight the growing obesity epidemic. Today, however, I am going to talk about the other end of spectrum: too much exercise.

We laud those around us who maintain a healthy lifestyle, and are motivated by, and impressed at their the feats of strength and dedication. I recently read about a man who has run everyday for the past 40 years. I’m sure most of us who read that were inspired, and impressed. But is that actually a good idea? In his case, he seems to be enjoying a great and long life, which is all we can really ask for. But is it because of his excessive dedication to running, or in spite of it? Continue reading Are you strong enough to slow down?

Preventive maintenance for your workout?

I have an online client who mentioned that he was not feeling great with the front squats in his program, but he was pretty confident he was doing them well since he is an experienced lifter. He is smart and self-aware, so I tended to think he was probably right. But I asked him to get someone to video his front squat because I have a pretty good eye for small details (I’m a ski instructor – if you can find small faults as someone launches past you on a ski hill, standing still on flat land is a piece of cake) and I just wanted to see what was up. Partly I just wanted to be sure that it was good form, because that would impact what exercises I would give to him.

He did, and before I even got the link he noted that he could see one major flaw in his front squat and that he was confident that I’d be able to help with it. I saw the video, which his son uploaded to youtube, and he is correct! The front view of the squat looks great – shoulders look great, the knees don’t cave in, and no lateral (side) shift. This is the view that you would have if trying to watch your own form at the gym if you had a mirror in front of you. Then came the side view, which lets face it, we don’t get to see. When you’re deep into a squat with weight on your back, you really don’t want to be turning your head to the side to check form. It could lead to bad things for your neck or back. But in fact, the side view showed the big flaw in his squat: his knees move way too forward as he comes down and his heels rise up slightly.
Continue reading Preventive maintenance for your workout?

6 Exercises for Low Back Health

Low back pain is a very common problem, and is a topic that comes up often when I talk with, well people. I have written a couple of articles about this in previous years, but I want to address it again, this time with a more practical approach. I realized recently that I have developed a bit of a template for clients who have low back pain, or who have a history of low back pain. The program for each person is different, but there are six exercises that I include for almost everyone who talks about their back when I first meet them. I am going to share these 6 exercises for low back health with you.

Before I begin though, I must point out the following: If daily living causes you low back pain, I strongly suggest that you look to a health care practitioner as your primary source of guidance for your back health. I won’t suggest what type of professional you see, just that someone who is a doctor, osteopath, physical therapist, chiropractor, athletic therapist, or massage therapist sees and hopefully provides some treatment for your back.

With that said, I’m going to share the 6 exercises that I have found to be most important and effective for helping people improve their low back health. Strangely I feel a need to qualify that again. I think that is because it makes me uncomfortable suggesting that I can help “cure back pain” when I am not a health care professional. I’m a trainer. And before I was a trainer, I was an engineer; not a doctor or a physical therapist. But here’s the thing: I help people’s low back pain by avoiding their back pain, not by working on it. Continue reading 6 Exercises for Low Back Health