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Sometimes working out just isn't in the cards. Maybe you've been sick or have an injury. Or maybe your schedule is totally unforgiving and you're overloaded with work and sports.

It happens to everyone. You'd be hard pressed to find a person who has never taken some time off from training. For a few weeks, a break from exercise is not all that problematic. But de-training issues begin to arise if you extend it for too long.

Here's how skipping workouts affects your body for the first four weeks, and for the time thereafter.

In the first four weeks . . .

Your conditioning decreases

You can quickly improve your conditioning. At the same time, your endurance is one of the first things to go after you stop working out. "You see some high level CrossFit guys who can get in great conditioning shape in a couple of weeks," says Dr. John Rusin, a strength coach specializing in sports performance physical therapy and rehab. "You can get linearly better and linearly worse by not doing your specific energy systems work."

Your body becomes less efficient compared to when you were training. The amount of oxygen your body can use to make energy is reduced, as is the quantity of blood in your body. This contributes to decreased aerobic endurance of up to 24 percent. Also, lactate builds up at lower intensities, so it's impossible to exercise at the same intensity as before.

When all's said and done, you will fatigue at a much faster rate and won't be able

Read more: This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Working Out

Getting stronger should always be a priority for athletes. Strength is the foundation of athleticism—there's no denying that.

Getting strong is fairly simple. Use compound movements, lift heavy, fuel up and mitigate stress. Yet so many athletes struggle to make progress. They're like a hamster in a wheel. They're working hard but going nowhere.

Here are four reasons why you're not getting stronger.

1. You Keep Switching Gears

Most athletes have no concept of how long it takes to see progress. One month they're trying to add size, and the next month they're trying to get shredded. In short, they're program hopping.

We can certainly make the argument that some training protocols are better than others. But that's not the issue. Truth is, there are plenty of cookie-cutter programs out there, but you would make considerably more progress if you just follow one plan and finish it. Certainly there is value in changing up the stimulus, but doing so too often is not ideal.

The effectiveness of a training program pales in comparison to your ability to consistently put in the work. Focus on one primary goal.

RELATED: Why Random Workouts Won't Produce the Results You Want

2. You Have No Regard For The Basics

Read more: 4 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Stronger

If you train and play sports seriously, stress and strain can lead to lower-back pain. Hoping it will just go away can hurt your performance and cause injury.

But you don't want to get overzealous and do exercises that aggravate the problem. You can perform Back Extensions until the cows come home, but all you're doing is making matters worse.

So what now?

Focus on your deep abdominals. Stiffening your spine and bracing your core are crucial for preventing painful spine motion. A weak and unconditioned core will not sustain heavy loads for very long.

With all this in mind, here are five exercises for lower-back pain.

1. Deadlift

Never sacrifice form to lift or move more load. Movements that begin from there are a recipe for future back pain. To paraphrase Dan John, "Move well, then move often." Check your ego, lighten the load and focus on form.

The Deadlift allows you to exert maximal tension throughout your entire body while you move an appreciable amount of weight. It can bulletproof your entire body if you do it correctly. Technique is key.

2. Suitcase Carry

Read more: Back Savers For Improved Performance: Exercises For Lower Back Pain

You cannot walk through a weight room without seeing at least one person on the Bench Press. It's arguably the most popular free weight exercise. But its long-lost cousin, the Floor Press, seems to have been forgotten.

The Floor Press actually predates the Bench Press. People learned to bench a barbell off the floor before benches were even invented. The exercises are obviously similar. The primary difference is that the Floor Press is performed from, you guessed it, the floor.

Nowadays, the Floor Press is most commonly used by powerlifters and folks who are specifically seeking to improve their Bench Press strength. Besides that, it's practically non-existent.

STACK is here to change your perception of the Floor Press. The exercise is good for more than improving your Bench Press. It is a solid upper-body pressing move that can help you gain strength, size and power. It's also versatile, allowing you to bench with a barbell when no bench is in sight.

We spoke to Rick Scarpulla, owner of Ultimate Advantage Training (Bloomingburg, New York) and an expert on everything to do with the Bench Press, to learn more about the benefits of this exercise.

RELATED: Scarpulla's Guide to a Bigger Bench Press

Read more: Floor Press: The Forgotten Chest Builder

When planning your workouts, have you ever thought about improving your scapula function? Odds are, probably not. That is a critical mistake, but it can be rectified by including Scapula Push-Ups in your routine.

Scapula Push-Ups, or Scap Push-Ups, strengthen the muscles around the scapula, the technical term for the shoulder blades. The specific muscle that you strengthen when you perform Scapula Push-Ups is the serratus anterior. It connects between the ribs, underneath the scapula itself, and its main function is to keep the shoulder blades pressed against the upper back. When you strengthen it, you promote normal scapula motion and improve shoulder mobility.

This might not sound all that important, but proper scapula function impacts almost every upper-body movement you perform, whether in the weight room or in your sport. When positioned properly, your scapulae have enough mobility to stabilize your shoulder joints, allowing you to safely move more weight and prevent overuse injuries during repetitive movements, such as throwing a ball.

Scap Push-Ups are a simple solution to the problem. Once you master the technique, they are easy to perform, and they confer excellent benefits. Add them to your dynamic warm-up, particularly before upper-body workouts.

How to Perform Scap Push-Ups

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