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Old 04-02-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
Zachary Luke Smith
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Asymmetrical lower back strength?

Greetings fellow CrossFitters.

I'm ashamed to say that I've had a problem with asymmetrical lower back strength for years. The lower left strip of muscle that connects to and runs parallel to my spine quickly becomes a swollen rod of hot iron if I do any lower back exercise. For the most part I've let it slide--until I had to stop my workout yesterday when I developed debilitating pain from dumbbell swings.

No matter the exercise my low left back gets pumped and my low right back remains small, flaccid and heat-less. This is true even of: one leg romanian deadlifts and dumbbell swings performed with either arm.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm not sure how I should develop the strength or a neuromuscular connection to just one half of my lower back--or if it's even necessary.

Thanks.

P.S. I also have terrible sitting posture. My back forms a C while typing or watching TV, and sometimes while driving.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:29 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Asymmetrical lower back strength?

Do you have scoliosis or something of that nature?

There are things you can do to correct imbalances... mostly unilateral stuff though
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:57 PM   #3
Daniel Ricksecker
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Re: Asymmetrical lower back strength?

Sounds like you could have a number of issues to work on then. Bad posture could be tight hamstrings and hip flexors pulling your hips wrong. Could also be attributed to a weak back in general.

How is your flexibility and strength? If you're super tight improving flexibility is probably your first step to correcting any imbalances.
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:12 AM   #4
Zachary Luke Smith
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Re: Asymmetrical lower back strength?

Hmm.. I was actually suspected of having scoliosis once or twice, but I don't think I do. I've only received comments on my sitting posture--which I believe is terrible due to laze. The C was somewhat of an exaggeration. The posture problem is something I'm conscious of and try to correct regularly. Maybe it is a hamstring problem?

I do notice shortness in my hamstrings and lack of ROM in my hips. I would like to address that too and considered making a post about it a while back. I did some research under my heroes and they all had seemingly different answers. (Pavel, Rhadi Ferguson & JC Santana, Kelly Starrett)

Pavel - relax into the stretch, don't tear that crap up

Rhadi and JC - weighted deadlift lunges, active stretching with weights

Kelly - Tear that crap up

Edit: forgot to comment on my strength

I'm 174 lbs when I'm competitive and I think the most I've squatted is 225-260 x 5 reps.
My apologies for the vagueness. It's been a while since I've had the comfort of a rack or barbell, so I usually do one arm dumbbell lifts or sandbag work.

And thanks for the replies!

Last edited by Zachary Luke Smith; 04-03-2010 at 02:21 AM..
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Old 04-03-2010, 04:19 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: Asymmetrical lower back strength?

You need to tear that crap up.

First thing you need to do is find all of the functional deficits in mobility you have and equalize them with stretching/ROM work.

After that then we'll focus on strengthening.

Tell us what you find.
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #6
Zachary Luke Smith
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Re: Asymmetrical lower back strength?

I re-watched some Kelly and re-read some Pavel. Pavel actually has a few sections in his Relax Into Stretch book about PNF. One of the first entries in the table of contents is "PNF Stretching Rules!"

Now I don't have an excuse not to PNF my hamstrings 5x daily as Kelly suggests. I'll review his hip assessment and work on those too.

Thanks again for the recommendations.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:49 PM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: Asymmetrical lower back strength?

You may have some problems that may be fixed by this wfs

http://www.eatmoveimprove.com/2009/1...-dysfunctions/

There's a lot of good resources on pages 3 & 4 for ya.
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Old 04-17-2010, 07:18 PM   #8
Zachary Luke Smith
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Re: Asymmetrical lower back strength?

Thanks for the link. I haven't read it thoroughly yet, but it seems to be the advice I was looking for.

I've been PNFing my hamstrings regularly and getting close to the "5 degrees off straight-up and down" test. I haven't done any deadlift-specific WODS but all my times have improved. The best news, I think, is that my lower back soreness seems to be spread evenly instead of concentrated on my left.
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