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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 07-16-2007, 06:11 AM   #1
Jason Donaldson
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Have noticed an interesting thing and was wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

I train in the mornings (6am)through necessity and went through a period of spraining facet joints in my lower back. I dropped back extensions from the CFWU and haven't had a problem. Now here's the interesting thing. Did back extensions this morninig during the CFWU prior to the Back Squat WOD and bang, facet joint sprain. Only a very minor one, but there all the same. Anyone got any thoughts on this or experienced similar issues?
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:00 AM   #2
Jim Biancolo
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If I recall correctly, there have been threads here in the past debating the safety of the back extension. I think Art De Vany posted on his blog that Stuart McGill (back expert) was anti-back extension, but as that is third-hand information and my memory was hazy to boot you should certainly independently verify.

As long as I'm including hazy recollections, I also recall the back being more at risk for injury first thing in the morning. Something about the discs being more swollen with fluid.
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:37 AM   #3
Daniel Schmieding
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There was also an extremely recent reply in another thread in the Fitness forum about fluid in the spine during early morning workouts.
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:32 AM   #4
Ash Sinclair
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I posted about Stuart mcGill and early morning exercise in the "Crossfit stretching" thread.

basically McGill reports that the spine accumulates fluid through the night and this fluid will cause excess compression in the spine if flexion or rotation is practiced too early in the morning. The belief is that it takes a few hours of exposure to gravity (walking, standing etc) to compress the fluid out of the vertebral joints.

so the basic advice is to avoid all flexion/rotation in your early morning workouts (situps, crunches, back extensions, woodchoppers etc)
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:23 PM   #5
Jason Donaldson
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Thanks guys.

I did read Ash's post about Dr McGill's theory, but after I'd posted. Note to self: Use the search function before posting!!!

Not sure how to incorporate Dr McGill's theory into my early morning CrossFit workouts but I think removing back extensions from my warm-up is a start. I don't seem to have a prob when they come up in a WOD such as "Michael" or the chipper from the other day.

Maybe it's the back extensions followed by M/E work that's the issue.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:05 AM   #6
Joe Celso
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not trying to be a jerk, but you maybe doing them wrong. done properly, there is no flexion/extension of the spine during the movement.

i can't speak intelligently about the fluid thing, but it seems suspect to me. (just my opinion). i'm inclined think you'd be pretty deconditioned if you needed a few hours of walking to be ready to work. then again i have to drive to the gym...

again - i'm not trying to be a jerk here.
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Old 07-20-2007, 08:32 PM   #7
Wayne Nelson
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Here's the story: during the night, because of lying down, the compressive forces on the spine are eliminated. The discs sponge in fluid and become "swollen". In the morning this expansion of the discs increaes distraction forces on the spinal ligaments and places them is jeopardy of injury. 50% fluid loss occurs in the first 30 minutes, 90% by the end of the first hour. McGill, and the literature, suggests no flexion in the morning, especially the first hour. (Low Back Disorders, p113)

If you are truly experiencing a facet sprain, it because you are performing the exercises with excessive spinal extension. McGill advocates extension exercises if performed in neutral spine. In fact, he advocates a lot of stuff, even curl-ups if performed in neutral spine. (His ideas of “curl-ups” in not how most perform them, though). It is well known in the literature that the endurance of the trunk extensors needs to be 30% greater than the endurance of the trunk flexors. (Note: endurance, not strength)
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:17 AM   #8
Matthew Mullings
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Thumbs up Re: Back Extensions & Lower Back Injuries

Hi everyone from a first-time poster! i am looking for discussion re: deadllifts and back pain. at 46 years of age i am just starting with the O' lifts and deadlifts, squats, cleans, etc. it has been a long time since college days. by the way, i am very thin, (140#) tall (6-1) and have bony knees. this makes deadlifts very painful. just want to be sure that i am not putting myself at serious risk for future problems... any help and thoughts are welcome. thanks CF community.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:30 AM   #9
Steven Low
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Re: Back Extensions & Lower Back Injuries

The BACK extension should really be a HIP extension.

Back stays isometrically extended in maybe a slightly arch or neutral while the movement is at the hips. For reference.

Matthew: consider finding someone who can coach you on DLs and most of other techniques. Is there an affiliate in your area you can go to?
Posts are NOT medical, training, nutrition info
Bodyweight Article, Overcoming Gravity Book
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:51 AM   #10
Justin McGinley
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Re: Back Extensions & Lower Back Injuries

Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
The BACK extension should really be a HIP extension.
From the FAQs, the official CFWU includes 3 rounds of 10-15 reps of Back-extensions.

There is a video showing the difference between the Back Extension, Hip Extension, and Hip-back Extension here:

You are saying that we should be doing Hip extensions and not Back extensions? You are often right, but this goes against what is on the website. I would really like to not injure my back. Can you clarify why we should be doing one exercise and not the other as part of the warmup?
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