Hard Bodies Personal Training 15 William St New York, NY 10005 917-474-3334 If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Consider what Bill Buckner’s wicket legs did to the ’86 Red Sox, or what Jerry Seinfeld’s singularly unfunny stand-up interludes did to the otherwise brilliant sitcom that bore his name. Personal trainer NYC not just rock bands, sports teams and television shows that are dragged down by weak links. The same law applies to fitness, maybe even more so. And in the gym, many of us tend to have the same shortcoming: the lower back. Personal trainers NYC very common for the muscles of the lower back to be underdeveloped in comparison to the muscles of the limbs and upper torso,” says Rick Guter, a physical therapist and the head athletic trainer for the D.C. United of Major League Soccer. “But because it plays such an important role in posture and stabilization, the lower back is really the worst possible area to have as a weak link.” Impaired development of all the other muscles in your body. Personal training NYC you gain more muscle and strength by lifting with correct form than you do lifting with incorrect form,” Guter explains. “For most weightlifting exercises, proper form requires active engagement of the lower-back muscles to maintain stable, neutral spinal posture.” Weak lower-back muscles cause bad posture during lifts and make the lifts less effective, thus slowing the rate of strength and muscle gains. Injury. Weak low-back muscles tend to cause you to arch the lumbar spine when performing certain exercises. This arching impinges the disks of the lumbar spine, and can result in strained ligaments in the vertebrae or in the small muscles of the lower back. Such strains are the most common type of weightlifting injury. The specific exercises typically associated with lower-back injuries are bent-over rows, cable rows, squats, deadlifts, stiff-legged deadlifts, and bench presses. “All of these exercises are safe when done correctly,” says Guter, “but most people don’t do them correctly.” THE CULPRITS There are two common sources of a weak lower back. The first is frequent and prolonged sitting. (You’re sitting right now, aren’t you?) Spending too much time on your duff tends to weaken the muscles of the lower back and bend the spine out of its natural alignment. It also tends to weaken the lower abdominals, which are vital spinal stabilizers. The second culprit is a biomechanical form of laziness that keeps the lower back from doing its fair share of the work, and thereby stunts its development. “The human body always wants to do things the easiest way,” says Guter, and it so happens that lifting with bad posture is “easier” because it requires a smaller initial energy investment. For example, it takes less energy to bend from the waist to pick an object off the floor than it does to bend from the hips and knees. But the more often you take the easy way out when lifting, the less your lower back is able to perform its stabilizing function properly.
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