Do Not Neglect Your Lower Back

Body-builders and weight-trainers, going back 70 years, dislike training their legs. This is evident by the infinite internet “Never Skip a Leg” memes showing muscular hunks with teeny, tiny legs. Do a Google search for yourself and you will see what I mean.

However, this is subject for another discussion.

tower crane

We all admire big pecs, broad shoulders, huge arms and a V-shaped back.

[I often, amusingly, think to myself: If men were to go around shirtless in their daily lives; to work and other chores (like during the age of, say, Conan the Barbarian) then surely body-building and weight-training would be the norm and not (to the outside eye) a frivolous, eccentric activity.]

That said, a grossly neglected body part, a body part I deem the bedrock of our body, is the lower back. Yes, that part of the back, behind the belly button, where the spine joins the buttocks. The spinal erector.

Any and all standing, load-bearing movements of our body compresses on the lower back. Take an everyday life activity like taking out the trash or moving an old cathode TV. Your arms do the lifting, your lower back bears the brunt of the weight.

Imagine a Tower Crane.

Move on to the weight room.

  • Do Squats or Standing Calf Raises. Your lower back takes the abuse.
  • Do any overhead movement like Shoulder Press or Standing French Press. Do a lateral movement like Lateral Raise. Inadvertenly you involve your lower back.
  • Do a T-bar Row, Upright Row, Shrugs or Standing Bicep Curl. Again, your lower back.

There are various ways to strengthen the lower back:

  • In the old days, there was the Roman Chair to perform spinal extensions. Even Wikipedia is unsure of the origin of the name but surely the Romans did not conquer half the world sitting on these “chairs” after battle. Here your lower body is horizontal to the floor. Your upper body too begins horizontal but pronates to a near 90 degree hanging position.
  • Then there is the 45 Degree Back-extension which evolved from the Roman Chair. Here your lower body is 45 degree to the floor. Your upper body begins in a straight line with lower and pronates 90 degress and more, thus providing more range of motion.
  • For more advanced trainers is the Glute Ham Raise
  • and Reverse Hyper
  • Of course, this list would be incomplete without mention the old favourites like Good Morning and Deadlifts with Barbells.