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Lower back muscle imbalance
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By JonnyGreenlee
From Evergreen, CO
Oct 24, 2012
Delicate Arch, Sturdy Arch.

Got any tips for how to work out a lower back muscle imbalance? Apparently I overdeveloped the major back muscles to the detriment of those little balancing muscles, and it is something that more pullups and deadlifts would only make worse- and things like pilates (which I know very little about) make better. A MSK PT showed me a few exercises to relive pain, but I'd also like to avoid future re-injury.

Just to clarify, I am not talking about a lower back to abdominal imbalance, but actually within the back where the larger muscle groups in the back get out of balance with the minor/spinal muscles (the iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis muscles..?).

I'd appreciate any tips, especially as to climbing specific exercises.


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By Peter D.
Oct 24, 2012

Jonny, the exercises for these muscles are rather specific and not easy to describe via internet, a good PT or good qualified Pilates instructor should be able to help you. The really deep muscles, the multifidii, rotatores and transverseri require very small isolated movement testing to determine at what level lies the imbalance. My friend Ann Trombley is a PT in Boulder, Trailmaster Coaching and Physical Therapy, has been working with athletes for a long time. If she cannot help you, I'm sure she could refer you to someone who can.


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By Jeff G.
From Fort Collins
Oct 24, 2012
Nearing the end of Thank God Ledge.

Go see Laura Schmonsees, DPT at Body Wise PT in Boulder. She is great and is a 5.12 climber herself.
bodywisept.reachlocal.com/?scid=602499&kw=15990:2211&pub_cr_>>>


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Oct 24, 2012
Me and Spearhead

To the OP, sounds like finding some more professional help would be the easiest, safest and most time efficient way to sort this one out.

When it comes to "core" function. There's really no such thing as a minor muscle. They've all got to do their respective jobs at the right time in order to create a stable spine that can transmit forces between the arms and legs for any kind of high level sport performance.

And since the shoulders and hips play heavily into how the spine responds to what's going on at the extremities, this isn't something that can be effectively sorted out without having someone who knows what they're doing actually looking at and working w/ you.

It sounds like you found a PT that helped out, I would first try voicing your concern to that therapist and see what info he/she can give you for stress proofing the involved motor patterns as to prevent a future episode.
If that therapist isn't up to the task then you need to find another person that can take you from the rehab side of the spectrum and continue that on into keeping you injury free while training for performance gains.


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Oct 24, 2012
Me and Spearhead

If, however, you're determined to go it alone.

Stuart McGill has done a ton of research and written some great books on the subject of how the entire "core" of the body functions and how to resolve back pain issues.


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By The
From Salt Lake City
Oct 24, 2012
Bansky

I had the pleasure of herniated disc several years ago. From my PT, I found that doing simple plank exercises (make sure to include side and reverse planks) had huge effect on balancing out all the small core muscles. Plus you can do them anywhere, and donít need any gym equipment.


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By JonnyGreenlee
From Evergreen, CO
Oct 24, 2012
Delicate Arch, Sturdy Arch.

I absolutely agree- I did go to a PT and did get some exercises. I have seen a lot of very well informed posts about training on MP over the years, so my motive is more additional curiosity as to what other people have found effective. I don't want to get "fixed", then go back to my regular workout routine and end up hurting myself again.

Thanks for the advice and recommendations so far. I've heard good things about planks, I'll definitely try and do them more often.

Brent Apgar wrote:
To the OP, sounds like finding some more professional help would be the easiest, safest and most time efficient way to sort this one out. When it comes to "core" function. There's really no such thing as a minor muscle. They've all got to do their respective jobs at the right time in order to create a stable spine that can transmit forces between the arms and legs for any kind of high level sport performance. And since the shoulders and hips play heavily into how the spine responds to what's going on at the extremities, this isn't something that can be effectively sorted out without having someone who knows what they're doing actually looking at and working w/ you. It sounds like you found a PT that helped out, I would first try voicing your concern to that therapist and see what info he/she can give you for stress proofing the involved motor patterns as to prevent a future episode. If that therapist isn't up to the task then you need to find another person that can take you from the rehab side of the spectrum and continue that on into keeping you injury free while training for performance gains.


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Oct 24, 2012
Me and Spearhead

I have a maintenance routine that I do in addition to what would be considered more traditional strength training.

One exercise that I've been using for awhile now and really like is the Turkish Get Up. Two things that stand out about the TGU are that it requires an incredible amount of coordination and stability to move fluidly through the whole exercise. And as you get better at the TGU you can use it almost as an assessment tool. Since you perform the TGU on both the L and R it will point out any imbalances in coordination or stability in either of the hips or shoulders and also any asymmetry in how well you can create spinal stability. Just a thought on something to play with.

You don't need much weight at all. As a warm up I like using the 8 or 12kg KB just to put a little weight in my hand so that I have to keep it under control.
If you're going to mess around w/ this exercise I do think it's worth the investment to actually get a Kettlebell. That and do some homework on how to go through the whole TGU correctly. If you're uber psyched on looking into it my recommendation would be to check out some of Brett Jones or Pavel Tsatsouline instructional info. Not sure how much free info is available but DragonDoor.com has a bunch info.
Good luck sorting out the back.


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