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When I first added Jefferson Curls to my workouts, I never expected this little exercise to prove such value, making it to my "non-negotiable" list of must-do exercises. Here are some of the reasons why I LOVE J-Curls:

Reason #1 - The Jefferson Curl really makes me work the mind-body connection

I have reaped tremendous benefits from doing Jefferson Curls consistently once a week for the past two years. I hated this exercise when I first started doing it because it exhausted me, not because it was super physically taxing for me, but because I had to concentrate so hard to get it done right; the focus, intention and patience that it takes to perform this exercise drove me crazy at first!

Every time I approach this exercise it’s almost like meditating; focus and attention must be on the task, distractions not allowed, it gets me in the “zone”. Getting my brain to activate my muscles to mobilize the whole length of my spine into flexion one vertebrae at a time was a challenge, but sticking to it and progressing to doing it well with a light load has rewarded me with a multitude of strength & mobility gains.

Reason #2 - Doing the Jefferson Curls has eliminated ALL fear of hurting my back

Our bodies have evolved to be able to move in trunk flexion, while at the same time protecting our vital spinal cord. Our bodies should naturally and safely be able to move like in the action of the Jefferson Curl.

Bending over and then rising up out of that bend is a functional movement of our daily lives. We shouldn’t ever have to stop and think it through to avoid injury; we shouldn’t live in fear of thinking we might hurt our back every time we bend over to pick up a light object off the floor. Unfortunately, because of weaknesses in that movement, many people have that fear. Get strong in that movement and that fear goes away. No pain, no fear. It's simple.

Reason #3 - Training Jefferson Curls has contributed to me NOT getting a sore back, EVER!

You get strong in a movement by practicing it, not by avoiding it. The J-curl is that exercise that will train your body to safely and effectively perform flexion of the trunk while moving your body. Progressing to being able to perform the J-Curl with an extra 5-10% of body weight load is a significant step to safeguarding you from an acute back injury and helping you prevent the onset of chronic back pain and back fatigue.

Reason #4 - Jefferson curls are a whole-body workout

J-curls are not all about strengthening the back muscles. Yes, there are certainly back muscles involved in the J-curl movement, but there are also other muscles in your body that are charged with moving and stabilizing your spine through its full range of flexion and extension while at the same time protecting your spine from being overburdened with too much load.

Jefferson Curls are a whole-body workout, involving muscles from head to toe. While performing a J-Curl you will protract your shoulders, stretch your hamstrings, contract your quads, mobilize the hip joint, contract your abdominals, and work the muscles in your feet, all while you also work those spine extensor muscles of the back; the whole body is involved. It’s not all about strengthening the back muscles. It’s about strengthening a movement that involves much of the whole body. The whole body gets a workout!

Reason #5 - The Jefferson Curl is EMPOWERING!

Not only do I love the J-curl, but the exercise also seems to be a favourite of my older clients. Given their age, I have often wondered why my clients like to perform this exercise and often approach it with enthusiasm. I initially thought that most would shy away, worried about "tweaking" their back or exposing the fact that they can't touch their toes. To my pleasant surprise, this has not been the case and the J-Curl exercise has been embraced fully.

I believe this is so because the mobility represented by the Jefferson Curl (loaded spinal flexion) is a human "given", we evolved to be able to do this, a movement needed for survival. This movement ability is so important to us, that to lose it is debilitating and devasting.

Those who have temporarily lost this ability through weakening or from injury know what it's like, you lose control over a large portion of your life. In many respects you become POWERLESS! Restoring or strengthening that ability where the need is ingrained in us for survival is a POWERFUL thing.

Although I love the J-Curl and what it does for me, it is not an exercise you should jump into without coaching. If you have had a history of back injury, and want to try this exercise, first make sure you check in with your doctor or physiotherapist to see if this exercise is right for you.

Contact me or any Alliance Coach if you want to know more about Jefferson Curls or get more information about training your body to be strong, athletically mobile, and pain-free.

Coach Sara

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