Overarched Lower Back

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 11, 2011 10:00 AM GMT
    I am just getting back into the gym after a year or so hiatus. I have the typical bad posture of an office worker with rounded shoulders, etc. However a particular problem I experience is the over-arching of my lower spine. This results in the a more protruding ass (which is already quite chunky for a guy of my small stature) and a more protruding stomach (which makes me appear like I have a larger stomach then I do (exacerbated by my small frame).

    Does anybody have a similar problem or tips on how to correct this imbalance? Apologies if there has been a similar forum post (I did a search however wasn't able to find anything relating to this issue).

    Thanks guys.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 11, 2011 10:14 AM GMT
    Sounds like you might need to visit a chiropractor a few times before hitting the heavy weights.
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    Feb 11, 2011 11:50 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidSounds like you might need to visit a chiropractor a few times before hitting the heavy weights.


    What would this do? You need to work on stretching and strengthening the relevant muscles. My brain simply can´t remember the term for what you have... something like "cross" something or other.... a common combination of kyphosis and hyper lordosis

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    Feb 11, 2011 12:06 PM GMT
    Lostboy said
    paulflexes saidSounds like you might need to visit a chiropractor a few times before hitting the heavy weights.


    What would this do?
    Poor posture is a result of a misaligned spine. Lifting heavy like that will cause more problems than it solves. A "good" chiropractor will do more than just pop a few bones...he'll also teach core exercises that can improve posture.
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    Feb 11, 2011 12:10 PM GMT
    If you are an adult and have this curvature of the spine, there is not a lot you can do about it now.

    To pull your tummy in to help deemphasize your condition, try doing wood chopper cable exercise.

    For rounded shoulders, I don't know the exercise's name, I call it a backward shrug. Set the cable to shoulder height. With your a extended straight out in front of you, step back to pull the weights up off of the stack. Then pull your shouldEr backwards without turning your body. It's like a shrug, only backwards, not upwards. It is not much of a movement, but it works the muscles that pull your shoulders back.
  • LuckyGuyKC

    Posts: 2080

    Feb 11, 2011 12:35 PM GMT
    Lostboy said
    paulflexes saidSounds like you might need to visit a chiropractor a few times before hitting the heavy weights.


    What would this do? You need to work on stretching and strengthening the relevant muscles. My brain simply can´t remember the term for what you have... something like "cross" something or other.... a common combination of kyphosis and hyper lordosis

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    I guess we have to go with Paulflexes 10,000 plus postings over lost boys 9500 plus postings in this disagreement. :-)

    Sorry bud I have no idea except the stronger my core gets the less slouchy stomach posture I seem to catch myself doing.
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    Feb 11, 2011 12:49 PM GMT
    No, don´t go with him. He´s wrong.

    Bad posture IS when your bones are all out of place, sure, but it´s primarily caused and solved by the muscles. You change it from the muscles, not by going to get your spine clicked.

    You need to stretch and do strengthening exercises that will balance your own posture.
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    Feb 11, 2011 1:07 PM GMT
    Lostboy saidNo, don´t go with him. He´s wrong.

    Bad posture IS when your bones are all out of place, sure, but it´s primarily caused and solved by the muscles. You change it from the muscles, not by going to get your spine clicked.

    You need to stretch and do strengthening exercises that will balance your own posture.
    If he doesn't know the correct stretches and exercises - especially proper form - he's going to fuck himself up. Maybe I'm just lucky to have a chiropractor who is also a personal trainer, but I feel better now than I did before my herniated disks. The herniated disks were caused from a variety of stresses, and of those was bad posture that I wasn't even aware of.

    Experience teaches better than books. icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 11, 2011 1:22 PM GMT
    ideally he wants a very good personal trainer, or maybe better a physio or sports doc to give him the right ones.... though for S shaped back there are some that are fairly universal.... I just can´t remember the term to search icon_sad.gif
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    Feb 11, 2011 1:39 PM GMT
    It's true bad posture can be caused by spinal problems, but I'm with Lostboy in that the much larger cause is muscle imbalance. An overarched back is mostly caused by tight hip flexors and calf muscles, and underactive glutes. Try stretching your hip flexors every day:


    stretch_static-hip-flexor.jpg

    Really concentrate on rotating your hips upward and drawing in your belly button to maximize the stretch. If you want to take it even further, raise your arm on the side you are stretching. If you want to take it further than that, reach your arm to the opposite side of the body. Do two stretches on each side and hold for at least 20 seconds.

    Also, foam roll your calf muscles (if you have access to one):
    calf-roll-1024x768.jpg

    Roll along the calf until you feel a tender spot, and hold for 20 seconds.You will need to keep your but off the ground and hold yourself up with your arms throughout this stretch Do this with each leg.

    Paul is right that you could injure yourself if you lift too heavily before correcting this. A good guideline to follow to continue to correct this while still getting in some strength training is to alway focus on drawing in your navel and tightening your booty while doing any resistance training. This will also help the postural problem.


    As far as your shoulders, always be conscious of your head position when strength training. I'm willing to bet your head might stick forward when pushing and pulling as well. Try to keep your head in a neutral position when lifting, chin slightly tucked.

    Finally, for your shoulders, try doing the ball cobra as part of your warm up:
    Fitness%20Ball%20Prone%20Cobra.jpg?__SQU

    Hold this for 20-30 seconds and do two sets. Be careful though, the guy in the pic looks like he's overextending his back a bit. LIke above, make sure to keep your navel drawn in and activate the glutes.

    Hope that helps!

    -Eric
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 11, 2011 1:46 PM GMT
    You have a sway back posture. Stretch your hip flexors like the previous poster mentioned in the first pic. And strengthen your core. Chiro not needed.
  • Medic911

    Posts: 152

    Feb 11, 2011 1:50 PM GMT
    Balance, strength and proper stretching. Those are my answers. With proper techniques and exercises, you can do anything a chiropractor can do and it will be a lot safer and less expensive. You can't fix the way your skeleton is shaped, but you can strengthen opposing muscles and increase flexibility to improve posture and overall stature.

    Try a variety of abdominal exercise (like those found in the p90x Ab Ripper X work out) 3 times a week and really focus on proper form. Pull ups are great for upper body shaping because your spine naturally falls into alignment. I do pull ups with 2 fingers on door jams for finger strength as a rock climber.

    You may not believe it, but I'm going to say this anyway. I'll even preface it with the macho statement that my passion is one of the hardest and most dangerous sports in the world (rock climbing). With that being said, some of the most athletic, healthy, strong and flexible people I know are people who regularly practice athletic yoga. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of terrible yoga instructors that will charge you for an hour of stretching that you could do at home. BUT if you find a good studio that offers Vinyasa and Hatha with advanced classes, then I really think this could be a good solution for you.

    Also (and this one is more of a treat for you) I think a series of deep tissue massages would benefit your posture. Before you judge me(!), understand that working in an office and being slouched over is terrible for your posture. Your muscles become knotted and tense. Over time, your body shape changes as your muscle memory sets into these poor forms.

    A series of good, deep tissue massages in correlation with stretching, ab work and athletic yoga over the next few weeks can completely alter your posture. If nothing else, you'll feel a lot better and your outlook on exercise may shift.

    Best of luck.

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    Feb 11, 2011 2:05 PM GMT
    Sitting over a desk all day can result in posture disorders of the shoulders and pelvis referred to as upper crossed syndrome and lower crossed syndrome

    http://backintoit.com/what-is-upper-crossed-syndrome/

    http://backintoit.com/what-is-lower-crossed-syndrome/

    Basically upper crossed syndrome is associated with tight pectoralis muscles and certain neck muscles. These muscles pulls the shoulders and neck forward and can result in neck pain, shoulder pain, and headaches. The upper back muscles, rhomboids and lower traps, are weak and over stretched. Bodybuilders who develop pecs that are tighter and stronger than the upper back (muscle imbalance) can develop a similar condition even though they don't spend the day sitting over a desk.
    Therapists prescribe stretching exercises for the pecs and strengthening exercises fot the weak upper back.

    Lower crossed syndrome occurs when the hip flexors are tight and pull the pelvis anterior. This causes the abdomen to bulge, the buttocks to protrude, the low back to sway (lordosis) and low back pain. This problem is associated with weak glutes and abs. Stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the abs and glutes will help correct this posture problem.

    http://posturecorrection101.com/nyc-posture-correction-training/muscles-that-cause-muscular-imbalances/anterior-pelvic-tilt-correction/


    You would need to see a professional to determine if you actually have these two disorders since there are other causes for postural abnormalities. A professional would prescribe the appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises
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    Feb 11, 2011 2:08 PM GMT
    You have a part of genetic and a part of muscular balance/imbalance for that lower spine shape.

    That shape makes you prone to lower back injuries, as you vertebral disks can't handle a much weigh when vertebra are not perfectly aligned.

    There is two things you can do:

    Minimize the exaggerate shape.
    You need to become 'aware' of your lower back position so that you can correct it. If you have no perception about you lower back actual position, you just can't correct it. So you need expert help, to develop that awareness, learn specific stretching fort some muscle, increase the tonicity of others, ending up with a bit 'less worse' position but also a serious reduction of your chances to get lower back injuries out of daily activities.

    Learn proper form do effort.
    When you lift a box of books, or weight lift at the gym, or run, you put tenfold more stress on your lower back than during daily life.
    A 'less worse' posture won't help much, you need to learn the best possible form given you genetic shape, even if it feel completely unnatural.
    This one will never be natural, but you can learn the form, and train the muscles allowing you to maintain it under heavy.

    I have the same natural posture that you have, and did the two above. At 48yo, despite a lot of sport traumatic for lower back (pole vault, triple jump), I still have an healthy lower back, so I think it works. But be warned it took me some years to to get to the automatic, unselfconscious switch to the right form during effort putting weight on my spine.

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    Feb 11, 2011 2:11 PM GMT
    Forgot : you can't learn this on your own, nedd a physical therapist and a pro trainer.
    PS : any 'simple' approach won't work, it's not 'just' about stretching', not 'just' about specific muscle reinforcement, not 'just' about learning right form, it's a mix of all that and more.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 11, 2011 3:36 PM GMT
    Eat pork rinds ... icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 11, 2011 4:00 PM GMT
    take some pilates classes and on the reformer with a instructor that really gets on you about your pelvic tilt. or take my men's ballet class and I'll get you to stop arching that pelvis and hold your shoulders back and down.



    It's a muscular issue and it happens ALL the time. no biggie.
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    Feb 11, 2011 10:11 PM GMT
    I agree with all those who say you need to strengthen your core, maybe try palates, and get professional training. Some of the guys at my gym are on amazing core strengthening and back-correcting regimens, doing all sorts of exercises that I cannot describe. Some of them have emerged from debilitating pain and disfunction using a well constructed routine.
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    Feb 12, 2011 12:28 AM GMT
    Thanks everyone who provided advice - much appreciated. I will take it on-board and work towards correcting the problems. icon_smile.gif