T Nation

How to Keep Your Back Tight?

this may come off as stupid, but i read somewhere that you cant “flex” muscle, instead you just lock out the bones(for example lock out your knees and your quads will flex as much as they can. lock out your elbows and your triceps will flex)

so how exactly do you keep your back “tight”? im wondering if that just means keeping your back straight?

technically this is true… but at the same time it’s not… ligaments/tendons are what controls movement and muscle is the means in which your limbs(etc) move.

try locking out your knees without flexing your quads/calves… your muscles effectively “stretch” and you can feel a slight flex but it’s not the same as flexion. You can flex your quads for example without bending your knee.

ok but really… how do you keep your (lower) back tight? the only way it “feels” more tight is if i curve it too much but too much curve isnt good either?

the muscles shown in this link: exrx.net/Muscles/ErectorSpinae.html are the ones that really control the “tightness” of the lower back, I’m assuming this is the area you are speaking of (lower lumbar).

I’m just wondering what you mean by “tight” in the first place. Flexed?

isnt that what every article says? keep your back tight on squats, deadlifts etc?

thats what i mean

maybe i’m wrong but most of the exercises of that nature it’s recommended to squeeze your glutes i believe. which incidentaly does make your lower back “feel” tighter.

I think your talking about the transverse abdominus - the internal muscles that support your spine

Its mentioned quite a bit in Pilates and the stomach vaccume - as seen in classic bodybuilding photos - is a way to engage it

I could dig up some exercises if you want

Keeping your back tight isn’t just a muscle thing btw, it also means that you are constantly striving to maintain a lumbar arch opposed to allowing your lower back into flexion.

Edit: I think that if you keep this in mind it will help your lifts a lot more than thinking about muscle tightness specifically.

[quote]Keeping your back tight isn’t just a muscle thing btw, it also means that you are constantly striving to maintain a lumbar arch opposed to allowing your lower back into flexion.

Edit: I think that if you keep this in mind it will help your lifts a lot more than thinking about muscle tightness specifically.[/quote]

thats what i said actually in the first post

i just dont get how any other way to make my back tight? i thought that as long as its not curving too much so the weight isnt supported anymore by your musclesbut rather by… wherever its on(chair/bed for example) then you just have no other way other than to remain tight?

Personally, I think you are on the right track. Just try to keep it arched hard during the lift. As long as there isn’t flexion you should be good.

Sorry if I rehashed what you were already thinking.

Muscles produce movement, so if you are arched then the muscles that cause the arching will be tight. Just remember that the arch is for injury prevention AND a more efficient movement pattern.