Thursday, November 29, 2007

Back Strength in Body Mind Spirit Integration

My friends Gibbie and Marlene are SEAL PT Lifers. They met at SEAL PT and later married. I had always blown off the whole boot-camp-and-exercise-at-5:30-in-the-morning thing. When Marlene was ready to return to SEAL PT after Emily, their daughter, was born, she opted to start with the Navigators, which met at a more civilized 6:30 am. I was intrigued as Marlene described the easier pace and lighter attitude. I wasn’t sure I could even handle Navigators with my back, but knew I wanted to try something different. So there I was, my clothes plastered to my body on a hot-and-humid July morning.

I was shocked that I liked SEAL PT. But most surprising was my back. I was very careful with the exercises; I did as many reps as I could and would rest or modify the movement when my back started to hurt. The overall calisthenics strengthened my back, which in turn greatly reduced the pain.

Ironically, strengthening my abdominal muscles--my bid to strengthen my back--had over-developed my hip flexor muscles. Your abdominals, or abs, are the four layers of muscle that span your sides and belly, from the lower rib cage to the hip and pubic bones. Strong abs are important for good back support and good breathing. (The more toned and supple your ab muscles, the deeper your breath exhalation, which in turn gives you a fuller inhalation. This simple improvement in breathing alone yields a dramatic improvement in vitality).

The hip flexors are the muscles that raise the thigh up toward the belly. Some of the hip flexors attach to the back along the lumbar spine. My overly strong hip flexor muscles had actually strained and pulled the lower vertebrae out of alignment, and this miscalculation had caused much of my back pain. The remedy was to focus on strengthening the back muscles themselves and ab exercises that counter-strengthened the hip extensors: the muscles that lift your thigh backward and up.

Love your way,

Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’

Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.

Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019

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