Jessica Bento, MSPT
I use to lay there in bed, a pretty strong burning sensation going down my legs. At the time I was just in my late 20’s and I use to honestly stay up being fearful of what I would feel as I would get older. If this was how I felt in my 20’s, how were my 30’s, 40’s, etc. feel?
The idea of working out wasn’t difficult because of any fear of sweating or working hard, it was the real fear I had of how much pain I was going to find myself in after the training session. Inconsistent workouts were more of a byproduct of me just not wanting to risk it, rather than not having time or not wanting to push myself.
This was a far cry from my very athletic days when I was younger, but it appeared to be not only my current reality, but my future as well.
That is until Josh introduced me to DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workout programs. At first I had the same hesitation about exercise that many of my patients have when they come in for physical therapy. There is no greater demotivation to exercising than pain! I didn’t know if DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workout programs would really be for me!
After all, what I watched Josh do seemed really complex and probably nothing I would normally find myself doing. I had faith and curiosity as I knew Josh had gone through many of the low back issues that I had experienced and if he could do it, maybe I could as well!
The Ultimate Sandbag Bear Hug Squat offers some unique benefits to even better squats even when compared to exercises like the kettlebell goblet squat.
One of the things that I immediately appreciated was the fact that many of the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workout drills did not put a lot of pressure on my back. In my past experience with strength training I had typically put weight on my back. It was uncomfortable and never felt right, but it is what I knew and saw people use all the time, so could it be wrong?
As I worked more and more with Josh, I started to really appreciate what “core training” really meant. It made me wonder why I spent so much time loading up my back when I could get strong without the discomfort that so many years of fitness training had put upon me.
Now you may think that you can’t get strong unless you load up that back, heck, it is what I thought for many years. Yet, the more I personally experienced and the more I really thought about the human body, the less and less I thought it was appropriate for most people to put weight on their backs!
How do I mean? In one study 52% of the people in the study had a disc buldge of some sort. Other studies have shown anywhere up to 75% of people have some type of disc buldge or abnormality. That means if you train people, possibly 7, almost 8 people out of ten you see have a disc buldge!
Now, before you go running off to get an MRI, the point of most of these studies is that many of us have these issues but don’t show any negative effects. This doesn’t mean you are off the hook though!
Just because you do not have pain, it doesn’t mean you are at less at risk for developing an issue if you don’t take care of your back right!
One of the easiest things to do is watch how much spinal compression and shear you expose
your body too. As a physical therapist, it is hard for me to justify most people putting themselves time and time again through high loads through their back! How does a small thing add up to a big deal? A very popular study (CLICK HERE) showed that back squatting weights .8 to 1.6 pounds one’s body weight put 6-10 times bodyweight through the L3/L4 areas of the low back. That’s HUGE for not really even heavy weights.
Most people then may fear that by following my advice they can never really get strong. Sorry, I just don’t believe that is true! In exercises like squats, lunges, and step-ups, the goal of the exercise is to strengthen your legs, hips, and torso. So many people lose sight of this and over stress the low back because they tend to have a natural lean when the weight is on the back. Studies have shown that it is the trunk lean that is the biggest variable in exposing the back to these high forces.
That means the more we can have our training in tall, upright postures when we squat, lunge, and step-up, the more we can train the body in the RIGHT way and not put our bodies under unnecessary risk.
I know you might still be a bit hesitant, can these lower loads not on the back really be that good for you? There are NUMEROUS studies that show that different load positions can stimulate the same, if not better strength in the lower body that some of our more traditional means of loading the body. However, citing research may not convince you.
I can tell you how I have seen person after person improve using the strategy I am proposing, but more importantly, I can tell you how I have improved. Six years later after dreading those days when I would wake up with the burning down my legs, I actually wake up without that pain now! I can do things that I never thought possible and do so without the constant fear of throwing out my back. I can move patients and lift good weight. However, I do it with the wisdom and experience I gained through DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workout programs.
All I ask of you is to try it for yourself, but more importantly try it for those that you have taken on the responsibility of helping them improve their fitness AND health!