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Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:53 pm
First time on this sight, I am 54 yrs old and have done weight training most of my life but have some issues with my back which Doctor says is early degeneration (great to be early at degenerating) but I was thinking of purchasing a hyperextension bench to strengthen lower back as I think it would be good but was told by a fitness trainer it would be the worst thing I could do . So does anybody have opinions ?
Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:43 pm
That fitness trainer is quite rigth in my opinion. Back injury expert Stuart Mcgill usually states that the back extension machine is one of the worst choises for back strengthening and rehab. It is very dangerous as it puts the spine and it's muscles to a very disadvantageous position, and causes lots of bad forces to your spine. So yeah, there is a big risk for injury. Lower back doesn't need much mobility, it needs stability.
EDIT: I noticed that I was talking about a different exercise, but the back extension is also very similar. It puts quite a lot of force to your spine especially if you go too far on the range of motion. And once again, lumbar spine doesn't need mobility, it needs stability.
Posted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:48 am
I would also agree with the trainer. Your lower back shouldn't be the prime mover in back extension, the movement would should come from your hips.
I think your time would be better served strengthening your glutes
Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:49 pm
It looks like you ended up posting this twice, so, since there are no substantive (sorry Oscar) posts on the other version, I'll delete it.
Degeneration at 53 isn't really "early". You have a kind doctor who was trying not to tell you that you are getting old. The usual age for onset of osteoarthritis is around 50. Or maybe he or she meant "still mild" degenerative changes. If so, good.
Yeah. Traditional hyperextensions aren't the way to go. You should not be moving a loaded lumbar spine. You need to train to stabilize it. This means isometric exercises that train the muscles around your lumbar spine to resist movement and thus to protect the spine. So exercises like planks, Pallof "presses" are good. Glute bridges require you to hold your lower back in position, so they would be OK if you are careful that the movement comes from your hips, not from your lumbar spine. You can do a modified "hyperextension" that really only goes from slightly flexed to neutral, not into extension. You can do that off the end of a bench, or at many commercial gyms that have a hyperextension bench. You can train your hips and thoracic spine for mobility, but your lumbar spine for stability. Twisting at the lumbar level should be avoided. No situps or traditional crunches. Look up something called "McGill curlups", or "McGill crunches".