Ever since my college football days I've been dealing with low back pain and injuries... it's been over 20 years now. I've twice herniated my L3 disc after a CrossFit workout. The pain and immobilization was excruciating. I lived in fear of my back "going out". I also hated the down time while waiting to recover. My solution was to pull back -to lift lighter and find alternative fitness solutions like doing low impact workouts and steady state cardio. But it seemed this strategy didn't help.
For the last several years I woke every morning with very tight hips and sore lower back. In fact, I would get out of bed with my hips shifted out to one side making my spine look like it was in the shape of an "S". It would take some warming and stretching to get things back in line. Now that I’ve been doing Phyzseek’s prescribed workouts regularly for the past year my back has never been better. I jump out of bed now with no stiffness or soreness and I never worry about my back when working out or doing other physical activities like jumping on the trampoline with my kids.
Phyzseek workouts are based on functional strength training and High Intensity Training (HIT) protocols. Workouts are structured to work all major muscle groups, including upper body, core and legs. Working out at a high intensity level, around 80% or more of max heart rate, is the most effective and time-efficient method to generate metabolic adaptations that produces transformative fitness results, which include controlling weight, reducing body fat, and improving overall health parameters.
I have since learned that the major cause of my lower back discomfort and injuries was due to not having a strong core and an imbalance of strength across the major joints of my body. In particular, the transverse abdominal muscle (TVA) which helps to compress the ribs and intestines, providing thoracic and pelvic stability was not nearly as strong as it needed to be to overcome my previous injuries and support the weight I was lifting. “Without a stable spine, one aided by proper contraction of the TVA, the nervous system fails to recruit the muscles in the extremities efficiently, and functional movements cannot be properly performed. The transverse abdominal and the segmental stabilizers of the spine have evolved to work in tandem. The TVA contracts during many lifts; it is the body's natural weight-lifting belt, stabilizing the spine and pelvis during lifting movements.”
An added benefit, and contrary to popular belief, while it is true that the TVA is vital to back and core health, the muscle also has the effect of pulling in what would otherwise be a protruding abdomen (hence its nickname, the “corset muscle”). Training the rectus abdominis (the “six pack”) muscles alone will not and cannot give one a "flat" belly; this effect is achieved only through training the TVA.
A great exercise to strengthen the TVA is Roll Outs. Previous exercise routines I was doing before starting Phyzseek, of course, included variations of sit ups or planks but I didn't know what it really meant to have a strong core until I started doing the Phyzseek workouts. They always include a variety of core exercises that work all the abdominal muscles, including the TVA, in conjunction with functional exercises that build strength evenly around all the major joints of the body.
I recently held a plank for 5:45. Not bad for someone who, not too long ago, couldn't hold a plank for more than 2 minutes. And despite the Phyzseek workouts being intense I never fear that my back is going to "go out".
Co-founder & COO