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Elizabeth Quinn

Weight Training Best for Easing Back Pain

By June 10, 2009

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A study from the University of Alberta reported that back pain suffers who lift weights had better results than those who participated in cardiovascular exercise such as walking or jogging.

The findings, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, showed people with chronic back pain who participated in 16 weeks of resistance training with weights (dumbbells, barbells and other load-bearing exercise equipment) had a 60 per cent improvement in pain and function. Back pain patients who chose aerobic exercise (jogging, walking or using an elliptical machine) had only a 12 per cent improvement in pain and functioning.

The Study Design
Subjects were randomly assigned to one of the 3 groups:

  1. Resistance Training Program
  2. Aerobic Training Program
  3. A control group (these people made no changes in their lifestyle
The resistance training program used these weight lifting exercises:

The aerobic training group followed a similar schedule and intensity that included only cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging or the elliptical trainer. They increased duration and intensity for 3 weeks, and then eased up for a week of recovery before increasing the intensity the following week.


Kell, R; Asmundson, G. A Comparison of Two Forms of Periodized Exercise Rehabilitation Programs in the Management of Chronic Nonspecific Low-Back Pain. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 23(2):513-523, March 2009.

February 23, 2010 at 6:24 am
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