You use your lower back for everything. And when you injure it, you really find out just how much you rely on a strong and healthy back. You use your back for sitting at the computer, brushing your teeth, washing dishes, driving a car, and even holding up a cup of water. It is your main support system for your whole upper body (the lumbar region and core muscles).
As this winter rolls in, beware of injuring or straining your back from
I need to preface the below with some facts about our body. First, the main muscle systems used while
1. Warming Up
Before performing any type of physical activity, our body needs to prepare for what we’re about to do to it. At rest, most of the blood in our bodies is not in our muscles, but flowing very slowly in our insides, keeping our internals oxygenated. If were to jump into
In conjunction with warming up, stretching is key. Just like in a golf swing, you use a full range of motion during the swing, and so you have to warm up by doing light resistance stretching. By having an increased range of motion, you are less likely to use weaker parts of the body and rely more on your stronger ones (legs and arms). Start out by thoroughly stretching out your legs, torso (side bends and twists), and shoulder rotations.
3. Favor the Legs
As mentioned in the preface, our legs are the strongest in our body. If a person can bench press 300 pounds, he can typically leg press 500 lbs or more. It’s a fact that our legs are stronger. Now compare this strength range to our lower backs. Imagine trying to lift even half the weight of a leg press… ouch! Now why in the world would we rely on our lower back when we have huge pistons below us, able to lower our bodies to pick up some snow, and then raise our bodies to pick up the snow. Throughout your
4. Straight Forward Motion
Your legs are generally positioned to go in a straight up and down motion. Your back can rotate, swivel, turn, and bend. If you rely on your back to do all the above, you’re asking for trouble. Instead, here are two tips you can use to lessen the workload of the lower back and core. 1) Once you have picked up the snow, turn your whole body and face the direction you want to toss the snow. In this manner, you are tossing the snow in a straight forward way, completely taking out the torso rotation and hence saving your back. 2) Use more arms. Your arms have a large range of motion of tossing snow. With the help of pushing with your legs and the range you have available with your arms, you are free to toss snow with minimum lower back involved.
5. Static Arms
Using arms is better than using the lower back, but I caution you with the workload you may be placing on your arms. Let me explain what a rower does. When rowing, there are three motions involved: the thrust with the legs, the lower back extension to straighten the body, and the arms pulling the ores at the end. Beginner rowers often begin the arm pull motion at the beginning, which leads to arm soreness before anything else. It becomes their bottleneck. This is because they are not relying on their strong leg power to do the first and hardest part of the job. Same ting goes for
6. Alternating Sides
Any repetitive motion for a long period of time is bound to cause soreness (i.e. tennis elbow). Well, to lessen lower back pain due to a repetitive tossing motion to your left, for example, why not try tossing to your right every other toss. Also, try changing hand grips so that if your
7. Smaller Portions of Snow
This should be a no-brainer. In order to move 1000 pounds of snow, we could lift massive amounts of 50 pound-fulls of snow in the
I wish you all the best this winter season in