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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Back Repair podcast on Paleo Quick Tip of the Day

Top back bridge for beginners- then for intermediate
Finally, rise up on toes and lower nose towards floor

Jefferson Curl:

This February was the worst on record here in Wisconsin!  Not only did we have record cold and ice- we also were treated to an all-time record snowfall!

As a friend said, “March usually comes in like a lion- this year, it came in like a T Rex, on PMS, and wearing barbed wire underwear”.  And this is no exaggeration…

There was lots of snow shoveling going on all about.  My new (used) snowblower I got last fall (I’ve never had one before, relying on snow shoveling by hand as a built in winter workout), stopped working, and I just left it.  ( I suspect old, bad gas in the carb, but it has been too cold to even work on it).  Besides which, the snow was often so wet and icy that a snowblower would just kind of freeze up even while it was working.

So, I shoveled.  And shoveled.  And shoveled again, day after day- endlessly, on and on.  Finally, there was nowhere left put the snow, unless above my head height.  So, I went down the hill, where I park my Kubota tractor complete with a loader!  (Play harp music here)- 

And I got stuck in the snow!!

My Amish built shed is down low on my property, and so I have to climb a long hill to get up to my driveway and walk.  But the snow was so deep, that I got stuck, mainly because the snow covered a thick layer of slick ice.  

I left it there, shining orange in the yard as a an orange badge of shame and defeat to the neighbors, and went back to- shoveling.  Endlessly.  And what happened to me, is what happened to pretty much everyone around here that shoveled by hand- I tweaked my back!  

Now, I pride myself, as PaleoJay, who is a lifelong physical culturist, as never having back (or any other physical) troubles.  But, my back just said ‘this is enough’, and I was out of the running- er, shoveling game. 

Swallowing my pride, I went to my tractor in supplication, and started it up.  I found that by using the bucket in front I could lift myself up, and slowly drag myself forward.  Then, digging a deep path for myself, I laboriously dug a road for myself across my yard, and gradually upwards, until I gained the side just before the road- which had been mountainously walled off by the town snowplow to the size of a small mountain.  

I had to drag this snow mountain down, backwards with my bucket, and set it to the side.  Bit by bit, bucket by bucket- and finally, at last- I was on the road.  And from then on, I laughed each time it snowed.  

But still, my back needed repair.  Thankfully, I know how to go about this, and I will pass it on to you.  

First, you need to stretch.  Religiously, each morning, lying on the floor (I lay on my trusty yoga mat that I exercise on each morning anyway).  I always end up with a back bend, where I lay flat on the ground, and rock back slowly onto my forehead and toes, which are all that supports me as I stretch back to try to touch my nose to the mat.  (I’ll put a photo on the website at   This is the best decompressive move for your spine that you can do, and is in addition a total body isometric of the first order.  Hold for a minute or more if you can, then slowly lower yourself- you will feel great, this is also a wonderful neck exercise.

Then, usually later in the day, I will do my basement workout, which finishes with the very best back exercise you can do to fix your back.  Strangely, it is called the JEFFERSON CURL, although it is for your back, not your biceps!  I will again include an instructional video on

Here is how it goes:  You need a sturdy platform on which to stand, about 6-8” tall.  And, unlike most exercise that I recommend, you do need a weight like a barbell.  A dumbell can also work, but a barbell is best.

So, you mount the platform, upon which you are resting the barbell.  Bend your knees, and pick up the bar as you stand.  Next, slowly lower the bar, as you lower it by bending from the lower back, vertebrae by vertebrae.  When you get parallel with the platform, lower the bar slowly even further, letting the weight of the barbell slowly pull you down until you bottom out.  

Then, slowly go back up, vertebrae by vertebrae, until you are again standing erect.  Smoothly lower again, repeating the process, for ten repetitions.  End again with the bar resting on the platform, and step down.  

You have just decompressed, while simultaneously strengthening your entire spine (and your hamstrings as well).  One set of these, once or twice per week is all that you need, and the weight does not need to be excessive- I’d say start anywhere, maybe a bare bar, and gradually work up to about 100 pounds.  The low back is quite strong, when reasonably conditioned, and when strengthened thusly it renders your back to be almost bulletproof!

The only other thing you should do for your back is to brachiate- this is a fancy term for hanging from a bar, or stairwell, or a beam in the garage where you do your chinups.  This is excellent traction, and will decompress your spine in a hurry.  

And there it is: Perfectly Paleo Back Repair!  It brought me back around quickly, and it will you as well- just don’t get your tractor stuck first of all.  Then, none of this would have happened in the first place!