When at the gym, I often notice many effective exercises been done in a way that could be jeopardising the integrity of your lower back. When performing exercises at the gym its important to make sure that you are not hyper-extending (arching back).
Before we get started, this isn’t a discussion on how leaning backwards a bad movement is. It’s about how often it is done incorrectly.
Leaning backwards effects, a ligament called your Ilio-lumbar ligament. Common exercises I notice that this becomes an issue is during deadlifts and squats. Basically, its when we lean backwards without intentionally contracting core muscles to hold us in a backwards position. (even though there really shouldn’t be a lean back during a deadlift anyway.) When moving posteriorly, if we don’t appropriately contract our muscles to hold ourselves there then we tend to put a lot of pressure on out ilio-lumbar ligament.
The iliolumbar ligament is extremely important when it comes to supporting the lumbar spine. It joins the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae to the iliac crest (top of the pelvis). This ligament has supportive duties that restrict and guide movement between the pelvis and spine. When we strain the iliolumbar ligament, we tend to feel pain and stiffness across the lower lumbar and sacral areas.,
A common time for this to occur is in the final part of a deadlift when we straighten our selves up. Rather than standing up straight with the weight many people will often roll the hips creating a posterior movement of lower back over the pelvis.
This isn’t the only place we see hyperextension position. This could be as simple as incorrectly picking up a box at home and arching back if it’s too heavy. For all those DIY home renovators who paint there ceiling. Constantly looking up and holding the brush or roller over your head gets you in these hyperextension positions and what about the new mums carrying bub on one hip!
Iliolumbar ligament strains are very common and can easily be avoided by protecting our back from weight loaded extension actions. A simple little action that results in so much grief for so many people that can be so easily avoided!
Ask someone to observe you and see how often you do it, you’ll be shocked I guarantee!