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Effect of Reduced Frequency of Training on Lower Back Strength


    Numerous clinically validated research studies show that strengthening the muscle groups that support the lumbar spine help mitigate back pain. This study from the University of Florida College of Exercise Science investigates how training and detraining affects lumbar extension strength.


    The study “Effect of Reduced Frequency of Training and Detraining on Lumbar Extension Strength,” examines how trunk muscle strength can help with rehabilitation and pain in the lower back. The study had 50 subjects: 34 men aged 34 + – 11 yrs; and 16 women ages 33 + – 11 yrs. The training was either 10 or 12 weeks of variable resistance lumbar extension strength exercises. After initial training the sessions were once every 2 weeks or once every 4 weeks for 12 weeks. The exercises were still the same but the frequency of the sessions differed.

    Isometric lumbar extension was evaluated by the patient’s range of motion up to 72 degrees. Using repeated weights and angles showed progress in the participants’ lumbar strength. Participants were assigned to groups that met from once a week to three times a week. Each training session included either two sets of dynamic exercise, two sets of isometric exercise, one set of dynamic exercise and one set isometric exercise or a single set of dynamic exercises. Each weight load allowed 8-12 repetitions without volitional fatigue. After the subject hit volitional fatigue the weight load was lowered. A third group went through detraining which meant that they were not allowed to do any physical activity that included strengthening of the lumbar extension. In this study isometric strength was measured in units of torque (Nm).

    Findings show that even with different ages, heights and weights men and women did show different outcomes responding to the treatment whether they were doing the sessions multiple times a week or not training at all. It was proven that strengthening the lumbar extension helps mitigate back pains. Clinicians may resort to rehabilitation programs to help patients with chronic back pain opposed to other invasive treatment methods.