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NITF

Snap, Crackle, Pop

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OB-WR486_ricekr_D_20130313172521.jpg

 

So, let me start by saying this: I'm not injured.... but worried I will be.

 

My problem is this:

My upper back feels a bit tight and has to "pop", like popping a knuckle, all the time (a few times a day).  I am concerned this is a sign of a bigger potential issue. 

 

Now, some background:

  • I have been deadlifting for about 4 yrs now with almost no problems.
  • Just recently (the last 4 months) I have been deadlifting with greater frequency and volume (x2 per week... w/ up to 10 working sets) and progressing the load.  This has helped me progress in the deadlift significantly but I am worried it has a price.
  • A confounding factor is that after reading numerours articles on rounded upper-back deadlifts and seperate ones about using the form you "find naturally"... my deadlift form has shifted a bit; more so in the things I do and do not focus on in the lift... I don't think I'm "sloaching" nor do I think most people would say my form looks bad, I just don't kill myself to keep a perfect posture anymore (I still arch my lumbar pretty well I think).
  • I also am not foam rolling, stretching/warming up too much or doing SMR -- just feeling pressed for time and not making it a priority.
  • I suppose it could also be the chin ups I do? (alternate weight and unweighted x2 per week) but I doubt it

 

My questions are:

  1. How worried should I be?
  2. How abnormal is this?
  3. What can I do to improve / stop this?

Looking for any feedback.

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Maybe do some soft tissue work on the upper back, or get a massage or something.

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How much anti-extension work are you doing?

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You should be able to 'pop' your upper back.  Problems generally come when you can't release the pressure there.

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How much anti-extension work are you doing?

none... been neglecting core training way too long... looking to fix this soon.  Do you believe this is related to my issue?  How so?

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It can be part of the issue, when you do a ton of squats and deadlifts, it ingrains a motor pattern (extension) so if you aren't doing anti-extension work along side it, you can get stuck in extension which would cause the tightness you're describing. I'm not saying that anti-extension work would automatically fix the tightness, but it could certainly help, especially if you have been neglecting it.

 

I'd also suggest foam rolling your back more, that does a world of good for removing tightness in the back.

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Any new thoughts on this topic/issue? 

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I used to have upper back tightness and the occasional pop. It seems to be gone recently, and while I've got no science to back this up, I believe it might have to do with two things:

- I keep a balance between pressing and upper body pulling (rows, pull ups , chin ups), maybe with a slight favour for pulling

- I frequently press behind the neck with a wide grip

Both seems to help my thoraic mobility.

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