Anti-Extension strength and control is important for athletes and clients in order to protect their lumbar spine and reduce unwanted load on the back. Often, clients have poor pillar stability and gravity forces them into excessive lumbar extension. Hip flexor tightness may also contribute to this tendency. This exercise emphasizes neutral spine alignment and anti-extension strength using the Axle Barbell by Power Systems. The Axle is a 55” collapsable barbell that allows for easy rolling with or without added resistance.
Execution: Begin in a kneeling position and place the hands shoulder width apart on the Axle Barbell. Next, gently draw the navel in toward the spine to set the abdominal musculature and assume a neutral spine position. ensure that the head is also in line with the body by performing a gentle chin tuck.
Maintaining this spinal alignment, slowly allow the Axle to roll forward as the shoulders flex. Once the client feels as if the low back wants to cave in or break neutral alignment, pause for 2-3 seconds, and then slowly returns to he start position. Perform 5-10 repetitions.
1. Increase the cadence and had time
2. Add external resistance each side of the Axle
3. Move to a tall plank position with the toes shoulder width apart
Application: This exercise will facilitate pillar strength and stability from the shoulders to the hips, while teaching the client to maintain a neutral spine as gravity and the forward motion attempt to force the spine into extension. The key is to move slowly with this exercise to improve dynamic control and stability (resisting the movement into extension). Moving too quickly will create higher stress/force at end range and potentially create micro-trauma to the lower lumbar spine.
If clients are weak and go past their control point, you may see them pull back quickly in order to generate enough force to return to the start position. Use tactile and verbal cues to avoid hyperextension.
The Axle allows for very small and deliberate progressions/regressions of movement as the wheels roll smoothly on the ground. The barbell allows for additional plates to increase resistance if indicated. The exercise and apparatus can be used by individuals or in a group fitness setting.
Precautions: Use caution with any athletes or clients who have shoulder instability or who have recently suffered a dislocation event. Do not force the shoulder through any painful ROM in the event a client has rotator cuff/labral pathology. Likewise, clients should not experience low back pain at any point in time.