Protecting your back is essential when training for a bodybuilding competition. The back consists of multiple muscles that work together to provide stability for the upper portion of the body, which is clearly of utmost importance when dealing with heavy weights. Whilst a trip to a chiropractor will certainly help you to overcome any injuries, prevention is always better than cure. To avoid any prolonged periods away from training, follow these simple tips to gain a stronger core, more stable base and improved posture.
Work the Spine
The deep, local muscles located at various points along the spine, such as the erector spinae are essential for core stability and strength. The erector spinae are a collection of smaller muscles that support the lower back, and are often missed out of training regimes because people don't always realise the importance of them. It's imperative that you develop these muscles to avoid lower back pain, a common issue today particularly because many people work in offices with minimal back support. Simple exercises such as the dorsal raise are perfect, allowing you to train safely on the floor using a mat. Alternatively you can use the back-machine station to increase your range of movement and add additional weight. Try to control your body and avoid extreme hyperextension, which can actually cause pain and discomfort.
If you find that you don't have the time to work the lower back by itself due to time restraints, then use exercises such as deadlifts, bent-over barbell rows and kettlebell swings during your gym session. These will naturally use the lower back enough to give it a really solid workout and help it to work in conjunction with the muscles surrounding it in a functional way.
Feet for Thought
Despite being located half a body's length away, your feet and footwear play a major role in the overall health of your back. If you're lifting heavy weights then you need to focus on maintaining your centre of gravity to avoid any sudden jerks that could cause you to tear or strain muscles. Dedicated weight lifting shoes are perfect for this as they contain slightly raised solid heels, often made of wood. This encourages you to push through the heel when doing exercises like squats, and naturally causes the back to adopt the correct posture.
The core itself consists of more than just six pack abs. Make sure you work everything from the obliques, the upper and lower abs and the lower back to ensure a solid midsection and reduce the likelihood of injury.