I was really left scratching my head. Someone had written in to us asking why his low back hurt when he did exercises like bent-over rows? This was definitely disconcerting. If you can’t perform a bent-over row, then performing many of the even more dynamic DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drills is going to be tough. Does that mean this person just can’t use DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training?
As I really racked my brain to solve this mystery I asked him if he could plank? The plank should be foundational because it improves the core strength-endurance as well as teaches one how to align their body properly. However, like all exercises it really depends HOW the exercise is performed.
Unfortunately I couldn’t watch his form, but he told me he could hold the plank for over a minute. All I could think of there was a few possible issues that actually hold back a lot of people from moving forward in their training.
You see, just planking doesn’t automatically guarantee that you have solidified your core. Yes, it helps, but it is just the start. Even in people that I see plank well, they often have an issue when it comes to coordinating their core in standing and more dynamic DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training.
The issues that I see aren’t just in the bent-over row, they tend to replicate themselves in deadlifts, cleans, presses, and well, a whole bunch of other exercises. So, what is it? What do you do? What does it mean? Okay, okay, the issues are really simple, but fixing them takes a bit of time.
The Droopy Pelvis
One of the biggest issues is having the inability to hinge the hips while controlling the lower abdominal area. Now, I am not suggesting there are separate muscles for the lower abs, but rather there is a different coordination pattern. How so? Most people are familiar with the idea of crunching their torso. Where we see our chest come towards our belly button. However, there is a bottom section of our abs that helps control how our pelvis sits.
Yea, it seems a bit funny to first teach, but we should be able to move our pelvis without flexing our upper torso. Sure, you may be thinking of all the great dance moves possible, but this control one can demonstrate actually is a sign of great abdominal control. How does it show itself in something like the bent-over row?
We often focus on people rounding their low back more like a camel. Yes, this is a big issue, but we don’t want to see the excessive rounding in the low back in the other direction. When people move into the bent-over row we see the lower abdominal area appear as though it is getting bigger. The reality is the pelvis dropped forward making the abdominals look as though they were getting bigger. This causes huge amount of instability in the spine, especially in the lower segments where people usually feel their low backs.
Shoulders and Back Don’t Talk
My uncle is a marriage and family counselor. When I asked him if saw the same problems shared by a lot of couples, he nodded his head and said, “the exact same thing all the time.” What was it? Communication!
Whether it is in our relationships or our own body, poor coordination is a big problem! One of the most common ones I began to notice in recent years is the lack of communication with the upper back and the core. Try this….stand up, pull your shoulders down and back. Did you notice your low back do anything? If you are like most, you will find that your low back started to arch and lean forward. That droopy pelvis became more pronounced.
Now should you have your shoulders, “down and back” during many exercises? Absolutely! However, this needs to be done in conjunction with holding some tension in the torso and keeping the pelvis in good alignment.
Sounds good, but how do you teach these principles? I have found that a few key DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training drills to really help.
Glute Bridge to Pullover
Many people when they perform a glute bridge actually try to lead with their low back. By using the pullover and glute bridge we can easily see if this is a compensation you are incorporating. The load on both the hips and the core allow us to quickly see and correct faulty movements.
Kneeling Around the World
This appears to be a simple drill, but I am always surprised how difficult it can be to do well. The key is to move slowly and be intentional with every movement you make. You will want to avoid rotating the trunk, leaning as the weight moves behind you, and trying to speed up specific areas. Slow, smooth, and no movement from the torso!
Um, isn’t this a hardcore conditioning exercise? It can be, but if we slow it down we also get a great opportunity to make sure the hip stays connected to the trunk. A lot of people as they add speed lose control of the pelvis and abs creating too much motion in the rotation and the rear hip.
The military press can be a great way to see if you lack mobility in some areas of the body and try to compensate through other regions. By bringing the feet into a close position we can really notice if people try to lean through their low backs. Notice that the military press looks a lot like a standing plank! The same principles should apply!