Low-threshold activities shouldn't always have to require strategies that are typically used for high-threshold ones. _ One of the ways I address patients experiencing sub-acute low back pain arising from deadlifting is to float the barbell off the ground without the assistance of the Valsalva maneuver. It may be hard to tell but I'm exhaling through pursed lips as I simultaneously hover the bar. I'm still rooting my feet into the ground, spreading the floor and generating tightness through the muscles of my hips, abdomen, low back and lats. While it may seem counterintuitive at first to forego the stabilizing benefits of having the increased intra-abdominal pressure that the Valsalva provides for something like this, remember that this is for low-threshold tasks (light weight, low complexity, non-threatening & closed environment, etc.) and also well past the acute, reactive stage on the pain recovery spectrum. Breathing through this activity can serve as a step to help reacclimate the resilient spine to resisting anterior shear forces and compressive loads while working on the technical aspect of finding connection and tension with the bar. This can help rebuild confidence and serve as an entry point towards doing eventual heavier or belted work with greater intra-abdominal compression strategies. _ I especially love doing this for non-powerlifting populations (usually with lighter weight kettlebells and off an elevated surface) who have become rather fear-avoidant with forward bending, picking stuff up from the floor or who have been told unnecessarily scary and over-exaggerated things on their back x-rays or MRIs.
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