Hanging About

52½ kg

People are always asking me if lifting heavy weights will damage the back. Everyone who asks me this has a back problem caused by not lifting weights. From this my conclusion would be that lifting weights prevents back problems…

To get the back into a supernormal state of strength requires heavy lifting. In other words it is the heavy lifting which stimulates the back to get stronger. However any form of stress whether it be heavy lifting or just sitting around requires recovery for the stimulus to take effect. Recovery requires, amongst other things, rest and nutrition; it also requires… exercise. This may sound like an oxymoron, but exercise not only stimulates supercompensation but can be used to stimulate recovery. You can see this when you are ill. Once you are well enough to get out of bed then you will speed your recovery by moving about rather than just feeling miserable in bed. The same is true of recovery after heavy lifting, if you were to just lay about then supercompensation would be greatly inhibited or even denied.

Prehabilitative exercises not only speed recovery but enhance supercompensation; they can even be done between sets of heavy lifting to alternately suck and squeeze the fluid in and out of the vertebral discs; this will leave the discs feeling all pumped up after a heavy lifting session.

The exercises need to be learned, just like one learns to do the squat. Sometimes people complain that the exercises don’t work but the more skilled a practitioner of the exercises becomes the more immediate and more effective the exercises become. The following exercises are a selection of some of the ones I do… there are many more;


Each session starts with loosening up the back, hips and shoulders and everything. The following examples, in the correct order, are some of the exercises I do to prepare my back for lifting;

This exercise pulls the spine apart.

These pull the spine apart, emphasizing first the posterior aspect then the anterior.

This extends the anterior of the spine and compresses the posterior aspect.

This twists the spine one way then the other.

Rolling around on the lower back loosens each lumbar vertebra.

This extends the anterior of the spine and compresses the posterior aspect. Turning left puts the emphasis on the left (to counter left low back twinges such as sciatic pains).

The above exercise is followed by these to stretch the spine with emphasis on the posterior aspect and then evenly along the spine.

Between each set I hang from a bar.

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