Your Strength Training Has Left This Muscle Weak

Strength Training 2 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen

It’s called strength training so it makes you strong right?

Yea. For the most part. But strong doesn’t always have the clearest definition, and strength is relative.

Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, pull-downs, and overhead presses hit most of the major muscles in the body, but they aren’t enough.

There are some major muscles that don’t get enough work on a traditional strength training routine, and the most important neglected muscle group is your erector spinae (low back).

If you aren’t already doing dedicated core work(not just abs) then download the free Serious Guide to Core Training.

The Victim

The erector spinae, aka the spinal erectors, are a pair of muscles on each side of the spine. They begin at the base of your skull and follow the spine all the way down your body.

They are responsible for, you guessed it, erecting the spine.

These muscles are crucial for maintaining a neutral spine during heavy compound lifts like the squat and especially the deadlift.

If these muscles are weak you drastically increase your risk of spinal injury.

The REason

The reason these muscles don’t keep up is because they don’t get enough stimulus for hypertrophy in most strength training programs. When squatting and deadlifting we stress the importance of a neutral spine because this protects your back.

But maintaining this position during heavy lifting only improves your nervous system’s ability to hold neutral. It doesn’t cause significant growth in the spinal erector, and muscle growth is necessary for maximal strength.

The Cure

You need to put the spinal erectors through eccentric (lengthening under load) and concentric (contracting against resistance) motion. This is a requirement for muscle growth.

This is done just like it is for any other muscle. Choose exercises that target the muscles. Perform sets and reps at a given load. Rest the muscles. Then increase the difficulty next time through more sets, reps, or weight.

My favorite exercises for this are the Straight-Legged Deadlift, the Jefferson Curl, and Hyperextensions on a 45-degree bench or on the GHD.

Stay Rounded

The best thing you can do to supplement a strength training program is to implement a core training program.

Lucky for you we’ve created a free guide. Check it out below.

Download The Serious Guide to Core Training

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.