Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

What Are You Doing For Your Low Back?

At Total Results, we perform full body workouts each session. These workouts include all major muscle groups of the body, but also include many critical smaller muscle groups. Strengthening these smaller muscle groups is essential for pain free living, injury resistance and, if you have already experienced an injury, successful injury mitigation and management.

One of the most important areas we emphasize are the muscles of the lower and mid back. These muscles include the muscles of the Erector Spinae, the Multifidus muscles , and the Quadratus Lumborum.

Why are these muscle groups so critical to strengthen? According to Statista there were 947,000 Emergency Room visits in the U.S. in 2017 alone for Lower Back pain. Additionally, 80% of adults will experience a back injury in their lifetime. Back injuries are the top cause of job-related disabilities. Americans spend over $50 Billion annually on treating back pain. (link) These numbers are staggering. However, just two minutes of proper back exercise per week in the context of a full body workout can help you avoid becoming part of these statistics.

To exercise the muscles of the lower/mid back, we utilize a unique machine called the Medx Exercise Lumbar Machine. We have several of these machines in our studio because we believe this is such a critical exercise. The Medx Exercise Lumbar is unique among back machines throughout the exercise equipment industry for several reasons: relative isolation of the low back musculature due to leg and waist restraints, a safe 50 degree range of motion, a safe starting and ending position, and a friction free weight stack. As in every part of our workouts, we provide 100% oversight by an experienced instructor.

It is quite amazing how quickly back strength can improve with such a small amount of work each week. We have many clients who have had back surgery in the past or are living with herniated discs or other back derangements and after a few months of weekly workouts at Total Results, they have less pain, more mobility, and are capable of activities they thought they would never enjoy again, like skiing, hiking, and more. We of course monitor client's physical condition closely over time, and if a chronic back issue like herniated discs become inflamed, we might alter the low back exercise (change the weight, time, or range of motion) or we might avoid the Exercise Lumbar Machine altogether for a few weeks so we don't further inflame the area.

I have two herniated discs in my low back (L4-L5, L5-S1) which I have lived with for more than twenty years. Before I started doing this workout I would throw my back out several times per year and have very limited and painful mobility for a week or more. Now that my low back muscles are strong, I still occasionally get inflamed in the lumbar region, usually due to lifting too much mulch or furniture in poor form. When that happens, I follow the above prescription of temporarily altering the exercise or taking a week or two off, but still try to complete the rest of my workout. Invariably, within a few days, I am 100% back to normal. This strength gives me a great deal of physical confidence, and I plan to hike, mountain bike, snow and water ski, and do all other activities I enjoy for decades to come!

As you can tell, we are passionate about getting and keeping your low and mid back strong. It is critical for a happy and physically productive life. What are you doing to strengthen your back muscles? Walking or Jogging or Cycling don't cut it. Most standard weight training exercises are not intended for this region of the body (A stiff legged free weight deadlift is the exception, however, this can be a very unsafe exercise if you use improper form). As you think about your fitness, consider the necessity of strengthening your low back. Consider Total Results for your low back strength and your full body fitness. Do not put it off any longer!

Posted November 24, 2020 by Tim Rankin