I have, reasonably enough, focused all my health energies on eluding the three horsemen that are waiting for us most of us monkeys-turned-sedentary-snackers: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. They'll take down three quarters of us. I have not given much thought to my health beyond that, since escaping all three, and especially cardiovascular disease, seems unlikely. But sparing a thought for it, it strikes me that if those three horsemen miss me, it's exactly this -- "throwing my back out" -- that is likely to take me down. Oh, they won't write it down as "cause of death." But if you've watched someone decline due to age, you'll know it's a step function: one after another, events knock them down that they don't come back from. Falls, illnesses, infections, car accidents, whatever they are: eventually there's something that they don't rebuild from at all. This is my fourth horseman: someday my back will go out, and I'll stop exercising for good, and then I'll be in the end-game. When the wolf pack catches up with you, it doesn't really matter much which particular wolf takes you down.
I should learn more about this, about how to train my back to be stronger and more resilient. More of the same may improve my pull-up and push-up numbers; it may improve my endurance, and make my heart, metabolism, and skeletal muscle healthier; but it's not going to fend off this fourth horseman. This, I belatedly realize, is what Peter Attia means when he harps on "stability" as one of the pillars of longevity. The temptation, always, is to train what's already strong. But what I need to do is train what's weak.
It's not that I haven't tried to train my back and my glutes. I have. But it always progresses like this: progressive strength gains, followed by throwing my back out again. Which makes me think: if this problem were going to be fixed by deadlifts and lunges and hip thrusts, or by slow deliberate stretching, it would be fixed by now. (There's always the possibility, of course, that it's unfixable: but I need not settle on that until I've tried more things. There's always time to come to that conclusion.) What I haven't tried is different styles of movement -- light, rapid movements with unexpected twists and turns, for example. Or various exercises at the ends of movement ranges. I overdid my little sprints, perhaps, but I suspect they were one sort of thing I should do. (Not daily: that was stupid. Recovery time, kid: recovery time.) Or something along the lines of hopscotch, maybe. My friend Norman tells me that he cured his back pain by taking up table tennis. That makes a lot of sense.