Monday, July 27, 2009
A Word About Your Low Back
This back positioning is sweet. Learn to lift like Rob Orlando.
Admit it, you thought I was going to hammer Rob about his low back as soon as you saw the title of this post and photo. Oh no, young padawan learner. Rob's kung fu is very, very strong. But let's talk about why.
1) Rob is very, very strong. His perfect form does not break down even when he lifts round, gravity dense objects from terrible positions.
2) Perfect form? Yes, note that Rob's low back is FLAT! His low back is loaded and in neutral. Look again at the photo. Rounded? Phsah! Flat, and flat is safe!
3) Rob has stellar hip flexibility and he is sufficiently abducted (leg's turned out) to maximally un-impinge his hips. The hulk tail (legs) is not wagging the hulk (hips). Rob's connective tissues and joint capsules are not passively pulling his low back into a less than ideal flexed position. And this is a huge point. Don't let your hips dictate your spinal positioning! Get those knees out and get some hip flexion flexibility already!
4) Rob's hips are high enough to allow for his low spine to be in a more advantageous position. Butt down is fine for O-lifting to keep the chest upright for the second pull, but Rob's rock is low and he has no second pull here. He has to keep his hips high to teeter-totter into an workable position.
5) Rob's thoracic-spine is how he accommodates the flat low back. Note any good strength lifter and you'll see thick paraspinal muscles along the mid back. Why? Because loading the mid spine in a flexed position is way preferable than loading the crappy low back in a flexed position. McGill ET all demonstrated that lifters and athltes with chronic low back pain loaded the low back first in movement. Rob is loading his legs and upper back first. Well done Rob.
6) That stone is as close to Rob's center of gravity as possible. And, it is as close to his chest as possible. Be one with the stone. Literally.
7) Even if Rob was in a slightly flexed lumbar position (which he is not), he is not violating the "minimize spinal movement under load" principle. He starts in a tight position and lifts. Your spine will handle a ton of silly nonsense if you can keep it in one position during extreme loading. It does NOT handle inter-vertebral movements very well during loading. In fact, this is why squatting and reversing into lumbar flexion is the number one way to destroy your back (or deadlifting and ending up in a flexed lumbar, dog-poo position).
8) Robb practices. A lot.
Way to lift with your legs Rob!
at 9:05 PM