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Logical Thoughts on Resistance Training

Many people know about the positive effects of a resistance training program on weight control, muscle tone, strength, and overall health. Some even take action and get into the gym or wipe off the dusty weight set in the basement. I am a huge fan of resistance training and do so myself, but there are a few considerations to help avoid injury, especially if you don’t spend the money to have a personal trainer’s instruction.

We will not go into different spine types for fear of boring The Informer’s audience to tears, but all low backs are different and could use a customized program to strengthen their weaknesses. But regardless of the spine, its function on everyone is the same. We need to think of the spine and muscles directly around it as stabilizers more than movers. It is the solid foundation or “core” for the extremities to move off of. This is proven by how short, paper-thin, or overly attached to adjacent bones all of the spinal muscles are. If the spine were supposed to be a mover it would have long and thick muscles like the hamstrings or biceps pulling all around it.

With this in mind, we should train the spine as a stabilizer. Stability is being able to not move and withstand a force being applied. Exercises such as Bird Dogs, Dead Bugs, Side Bridges, Front Planks, Push Ups, etc. are all great for training spine stability.

When we train the “movers” of our bodies, from the shoulder to the hand and hip to the toes, we train for strength. Strength is the ability to move an object or apply a force. When we train our extremities for strength move them while you stabilize your spine. A great way to do this is to put on a weight belt fairly loosely and around your belly not your hips. Then, tense up your abdominals on the sides, front and back so the belt becomes tight. Now you are much safer during each lift, even safer than starting with a tight weight belt!

As an experiment, stop doing your sit-ups, ab flexion / extension machines, decline crunches, etc. for two months, do the weight belt trick, and core stabilizing exercises. I bet your back will feel better than ever, and you will not lose “one can out of your six-pack” if you had it in the first place. If you should have any question about your spine or how to improve its health, feel free to call In Motion Spine & Joint at 615-302-4747 or read more on