May 6, 2016
#5 Lumbar Paraspinals Dominate Abdominals
If you have lumbar paraspinals that look like telephone poles it’s a safe bet your abdominals are in La La land. And don’t make the mistake of thinking just because you have 8-pack abs they have your back (literally). Do they show up when it counts for stability? Are they all show and no go?
The largest fitness demographic I see this imbalance in? Crossfit
I’ve never seen a program that can develop the human machine like Crossfit. Pretty damn impressive. It’s a fantastic program for those that know how to do it the right way. Get a great coach and you can do some incredible things.
When I assess movement relationships and muscle patterns I find people have an extremely difficult time when it comes to abdominal engagement. The goal when I work with them is to have the engine match the body. Ferrari inside and out. Horsepower firing on all cylinders. When we optimize the paraspinal and abdominal pattern they unleash hellacious strength! And that’s the goal.
My good friend Paul Mcllroy says, ‘Strength isn’t built, it’s granted by your nervous system.’ Just beautiful and right. We give the green light to power and strength when there is balanced efficiency.
Don’t be all show and NO GO
The lumbar paraspinals extend your torso, anterior tilt your pelvis and laterally flex your spine.
They work functionally with the multifidi, rotatores, quadratus lumborum, and latissimus dorsi to extend the torso. If any of these guys don’t work so well (I’m calling you out multifidi) the paraspinals have to do more work. And they don’t like it. I also look at the glute max as a functional extender of the back. Think hyperextensions.
The lumbar paraspinals are functional opposites to the abdominal muscles which flex your torso forward and posterior tilt your pelvis. The abdominals are best designed for anti-extension more than flexion. They decelerate torso extension.
How does this dysfunctional domination pattern occur?
Take your pick!
It’s important to note that in this blog series of the muscle imbalances it doesn’t mean that you are going to get hurt, it doesn’t mean something is horribly wrong and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. The body is really adept at compensation and adaptation. That being said, helping these relationships become more efficient feeds forward into needing less effort to accomplish a given task. That’s just smart.
How can you assess the relationship?
What to do about it?
STAY STRONG and share the MOJO
Next up…QL dominating Psoas