Is there a low-back cost to hip-centric exercise? Quantifying the lumbar spine joint compression and shear forces during movements used to overload the hips.J Sports Sci. 2012 May; 30(9):859-70.JS
The aim of this study was to quantify joint compression and shear forces at L4/L5 during exercises used to overload the hips. Nine men performed 36 "walking" trials using two modalities: (1) sled towing and (2) exercise bands placed around the ankles. Participants completed forward, backward, and lateral trials with bent and straight legs at three separate loads. Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded bilaterally from eight torso and thigh sites, upper body and lumbar spine motion were quantified, and hand forces were measured. An EMG-driven musculoskeletal model was used to estimate the muscular contribution to joint compression and shear. Peak reaction, muscle and joint compression and shear forces, and peak gluteus medius and maximus activity were calculated. Significant differences were noted in each dependent measure; however, they were dependent on direction of travel, leg position, and load. The highest joint compression and shear forces for the sled and band conditions were 4378 N and 626 N, and 3306 N and 713 N, respectively. In general, increasing the band tension had little effect on all dependent measures, although a load-response was found during the sled conditions. Before using any exercise to improve hip function, the potential benefits should be weighed against "costs" to neighbouring joints.