I wanted to go through a quick exercise that you can do with the Lat Pull Down Machine that is great for the back.
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I had Orsy demonstrate. Grab the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Have a seat, hold that position, and let the weight stack pull up on your shoulders and mid-back in order to decompress your spine. Hold for about 10 seconds, then step out of the machine and let the weight stack come back together. You will need to make sure you have the weight set high enough that you feel a nice release in the spine, but not so high that it is painful in the back or shoulders.
Lat Pull Down Machine Exercise
Sitting a lot throughout the day can cause the spine to shrink and compress. This compression increases in our lower backs, and we need to relieve that pressure. This is one of the reasons that sitting for long periods of time can cause lower back pain and tightness. The lower back has a big job and holds more weight than any other part of the spine. Bent postures such as sitting increase the disc pressure in your spine. You have discs between each of the vertebrae in your back, and they are not made to be compressed. If they are compressed too much, this can lead to disc herniation (when the disc breaks and fluid leaks out). In fact, the pressure on your spine while you are sitting increased by 300 percent when compared to standing. When this compression is repetitive and over a long period of time, it can cause serious problems. Most of us sit far too much, and we putting ourselves at risk for degenerative numbness, pain, weakness, and injury. According to the National Institutes of Health, eight out of ten people in the United States will experience back pain at some point in their lives. This is not so surprising when people spend close to eight hours a day seated. Your spine is not designed to deal with stresses like this for long periods of time. That’s why it is essential to do exercises such as the one in this post to correct the damage.
One way we can do this is with the Lat Pull Down Machine, letting the weight stack of the Lat Pull Down Machine pull our low backs and decompress our lower backs.
A key thing to remember is that it is beneficial for about 95% of people. Approximately 5% of people will not respond well to this. If this exercise does not feel good, or if it irritates your spine or shoulders, then skip it. There are other ways to take care of your spine and decrease compression.
I encourage you to start off light. Over-decompressing your back will cause irritation, just like compression, so don’t overdo it.
So there you go. If you’re at the gym after you finish up with the Lat Pull Down Machine exercise give this decompression exercise a go. Your back will be happy that you are doing it.
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Rick Kaselj, MS
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