With so many of us dealing with chronic back pain, I thought I’d come up with a list of exercises to help you guys try out to help alleviate it.
Remember! Just because you workout once a day (even if it’s everyday), doesn’t mean you aren’t susceptible to back pain injuries! Think about how often the rest of the day you are just sitting around! When we sit, we stop using our glutes and core, and are throwing a constantly isometric stimulus to under fire those muscles! If we want to be fully functional, we have to recognize this and be proactive about proper movement patterns being a priority.
Floor bridge – start with both feet on the ground. Drive through your heels and make sure you feel your glutes firing as you hold the top position for 10-15 seconds. Do 3 sets. If you feel it in the hamstring more, then that is a sign you are not properly firing the glutes. Make this a focus!
90/90 – If you feel like your hips are tight, then spend some time stretching them out. Getting in the 90/90 position for each side, will show any glaring weaknesses. Try to lift up the foot of that back leg. If you can’t do it then you definitely have tightness in the hips that needs to be addressed. You may feel really tight getting into this position in general. If that’s the case, this should be a staple of your mobility routine. Do 10 seconds each side for 3 sets.
Cat Camel – This exercise will be most helpful in just loosening up any tight areas of the spine. It allows you to take your spine through a full range of motion with no load, allowing you to feel for those tight areas and gently opening it up.
Palloff Press – This is an anti rotation movement. We don’t want to just have a six pack. We need to be able to resist and control rotation, especially when added resistance is being placed on it. When people get back pain, a lot of times it’s due to asymmetries among either side of the body. This can create unstable and added force favoring one side over the other. If one side of your core is weaker than the other we have a similar issue. We need a strong, stable core through an entire movement when heavy loads are being used. Do 3 sets of 20 seconds each side.
Bird dog – This is a glute and core focus. When people do an exercise like a squat, they tend to over arch their low back to squeeze out more range. This is a recipe for disaster. That is not only stretching out and thus, lowering the stability of your abdominals, it’s addressing that your core doesn’t have the strength to resist that compensation. It’s also highlighting your inability to fire the glutes. Make sure to squeeze the glute as the leg kicks back during this exercise. Don’t let your core turn either direction. 3 sets of 10 each side.
Dead bugs – Another great core exercise. I recommend this one if overarching your low back is a big issue. Lying on your back in this exercise really brings awareness to your ability to keep the low back pressed towards the floor the entire time. This is a good way of testing to see how much you use your low back for a lift. Really focus on squeezing your core and keeping that low back in contact with the floor. 3 sets of 10 each side.
Combat Stretch – Having tight ankles means sacrificing extra range of motion during a movement. This can lead to compensations elsewhere up the chain where there shouldn’t be. If you have trouble pushing that shin forward and over your feet during this stretch, you know this is the exercise for you. It’s very easy for our calves to tighten up from walking all day. Do 3 sets of 15 seconds each side.