One of the most common and frustrating injuries among powerlifters and other strength athletes are back injuries. In my office, lower back injury is the number one concern among this demographic as well as general population.
Have you ever experienced lower back discomfort or tightness following a big squat? Deadlift? While arching in a bench? Do you see a health care provider for your spine — either due to pain and discomfort, performance, or prevention? If you’re training at any serious level, you likely are. This is simply because there is a fine line between injury and performance. At some point, you must risk injury to truly perform better. This is where intelligent training and taking care of your body ensure that you avoid the former and achieve the latter.
One way to accomplish this is to simply program recovery into your strength training. Did you know that by properly selecting your accessory exercises, you can address the limiting factors in the Big Three while also accommodating for your spine's need to recover from training? Whether you realize it or not, some exercises commonly used in training provide the added benefit of aiding spinal recovery, and if programmed intelligently, can make a huge difference in your spine’s health.
Here is a list of my top-5 exercises that I use to help keep the spine healthy during training. Utilizing these exercises and other methods have kept me pain-free over the last 16 months and allowed me to train harder and heavier than ever.
1. Lat Pulldowns/Pull-ups
2. Reverse Hyper
3. Hanging Leg Raise
4. Standing Pulldown Abs
5. Belt Squat Marches