Ever get that gap between your low back and the surface you are laying on?
That is the result of the spine extending.
The degree to which you perform this movement really depends on the activity you are doing and the type of movement strategies you use on a daily basis.
We utilize this position when we are lifting something heavy or have a need to restrict motions. It can be useful for power positions like a max bench press, but not so useful when we need to reach for a coffee cup.
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The constant use of an extended spine will close the space between the vertebrae, making the risk for nerve compression more likely.
When this is our main strategy for everyday life, we really place a detriment on our whole movement capabilities.
When we lack movement options, we tend to use this “arching of the spine” as our main strategy to lift up objects, forcing our backs to work twice as hard.
Many times we are left to think that our backs are weak because it becomes fatigued and cranky, when in reality, it is just working overtime.
Jamming into this position more to “strengthen” it, will be a large waste of time.
By learning how to utilize this strategy in only necessary scenarios, you reduce the repetitive strain that you place on the spine daily.
Start by making sure you exhale on lifts in the set-up, this way the obliques can support you and give you a better starting position to keep the spine in a relatively neutral place.
This way you can offset the repetitive extension pattern that may be a habit for lower level movements, and you will be fresh for the times you do need to generate more force.
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Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.