Now that I’ve been working with Amanda for six weeks I’m realizing that it takes baby steps to make long term changes. I’m also learning how my poor posture has contributed to many of my past injuries. We identified early on that I often hyperextend or “overarch” my back. Even though I am now aware of this, it has been very hard to change.
This is where Amanda comes in. Functional strength training is not only about knowing what to do and how to do it, but also about actually doing it properly. Amanda is always vigilantly watching my set-up and execution to ensure I have proper form.
Each week in my session I do a series of ‘”monster walks” – forward, backwards, to the side etc. There are many variations, but It’s basically an exercise where you put some form of resistance around your feet, and maintain the resistance while walking in a semi-squat. It’s a great functional strength exercise to help you activate your glutes so it’s super for triathletes. As for the name? I guess one kind of looks like a monster when doing them. Or, it could be about the monster like grimace they can bring on!
This is what my lower back would often look like during my monster walks when I first started. Imagine the strain I would be putting on my lower lumbar if lifting a weight, or cycling, in this position.
Specifically, Amanda told me:
“In running, excessive extension in the lower back indicates a lack of core stability, resulting in energy leaks. In cycling this lack of core stability could translate to unstable hips. This could lead to excessive movement of the lower half of the body resulting in energy leaks as well as lower back pain.”
When I really focus on my lower back, this is what it looks like. Notice there is still some curve, and there should be.
Amanda often reminds me:
“A more neutral and stable spine will allow more power to be generated and maintained over a longer period of time”
And this is what functional strength training is all about. Learning about your weaknesses, how they can contribute to niggles and / or potential injury and gaining an understanding about what you need to do to overcome them. I would be happy if I never had lower back pain again and it’s an added bonus that I will become a stronger cyclist and runner along the way.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Amanda Regnier, M.Sc., CSCS
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Exercise Physiologist
- TCR Sport Lab