Lower back pain can be an extremely complex problem. The exact causes, symptoms, and treatments of lower back pain are foggy - even to trained individuals. One thing remains fairly agreed upon, however: building strength in specific areas and muscle groups can provide lower back resilience and mitigate pain.
Lower Back Strength - The Muscles
When it comes to lower back strength and building a bulletproof low back, there are certain muscle groups that must be strong. Without strength in these muscles, the lower back may not be able to withstand what life throws at it - lifting a couch, playing a sport, or even sitting in a chair too long.
Examine each of these muscles carefully, and take an honest look at whether or not you train them. If you are one who struggles to stay out of lower back pain long-term, chances are high that you are lacking strength in one or more of the following muscle groups.
1. Quadratus Lumborum (QL): The QL muscle is critical in spinal stability. It lies deep in the lower back region, and is active during side bending, lifting, and playing sports that involve lateral movements.
2. Abdominals: The abdominal muscles in the front of the body are crucial to bracing the core and providing spinal stability. The abdominals are your natural weightlifting belt, and should never be neglected in a balanced workout regimen.
3. Glutes: The gluteal muscles (Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Maximus in particular) are extremely strong and are the main hip movers in the body. The gluteal muscles should be very active during hip hinging, lifting objects, and bending forward, but that is not always the case. When the gluteal muscles are weak and dormant, the lower back is forced to pick up the slack.
4. Obliques: The obliques are the abdominal muscles on the side of the body. These muscles are critical in opposing movement and maintaining a strong, neutral spine during activity.
5. Lats: The lats are the large, wing-like back muscle group that functions during pull-ups. The lats connect all the way from the shoulder to the base of the spine, and contribute to a strong lower back.
6. Spinal Erectors: The spinal erectors are the long backstrap muscles that run from the tailbone to the neck. Strength in these muscles is also one less thing to worry about when analyzing one's low back strength.
Lower Back Strength - Do Not Forget Endurance
Lack of endurance - yes endurance - is actually a large cause of muscular injuries. Fewer injuries happen in the first quarter than any other quarter by a large margin, and that is because some muscles are not adequately trained to withstand stress over long periods of time. A muscle that can avoid fatigue and stay strong longer is a better, more resilient muscle than a muscle that has sheer strength alone.
Lower Back Strength - A Supplemental Program
Building a lower back strength program can be difficult. It is a juggling act to make sure to include exercises that work each muscle, for the right amount of sets and reps, all while building endurance in addition to strength. Fortunately, here at Back Muscle Solutions we created the Back Of Steel lower back strengthening program. Back Of Steel is a 3 day per week supplemental program to build serious strength and endurance in the areas needed to bulletproof the lower back. Back Of Steel includes a program, exclusive video access, a bank of exercises, and incredible insights into training with the lower back in mind.