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Is Lifting Weights in the Morning or the Evening Better for the Spine?

author image William Lamon
Based in Miami, William Lamon has been in the fitness industry for more than three years as a tennis coach and certified personal trainer. William got his start as an NCSF-CPT while attending the University of Miami where he will earn a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology in the spring of 2014. Currently, William is also training to compete in his first powerlifting meet.
Is Lifting Weights in the Morning or the Evening Better for the Spine?
Lifting first thing in the morning can be stressful to the lower back. Photo Credit: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

It's crucial to lift weights at a time when the body is best prepared to handle the tremendous amount of stress that action places on the lumbar spine. For most people, this time will be in the afternoon or evening as the spine is up to 20 percent stronger than when you wake up.

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Rest in the Morning

Overnight, the spine lengthens and accumulates spinal fluid. This can make maximal effort lifts or twisting unsafe for the lower back. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to speed up the compression of the spine except wake up earlier. If you're already working out early, do a thorough warmup that includes five to 10 minutes on the treadmill plus dynamic stretches like inchworms, spiderman lunges, and walking toe touches.

Big Effort in the Evening

During the day, the spine naturally compresses due to gravity. The spine will safely flex 5 percent more than in the early morning hours. This makes it ideal to lift weights later in the day if you plan on doing any movements that can create large amounts of compressive and shearing forces. This can include exercises like deadlifts, squats, and any twisting movements.

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