Back pain is as common as getting a cold. Back pain can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle (sitting all day at your desk) or a rigorous workout schedule. Two entirely different situations, but the same outcome: a bad back. You also can experience back pain from a bad mattresses, poor posture, standing too much, repetitive movements (those golf or tennis swings), or pregnancy. If you are experiencing back pain, you aren't alone. And no matter what the cause, back pain can be helped by two things:
- Stretching the back and legs
- Strengthening the entire core
Practice the following five exercises on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and get rid of that aching back.
- Strengthens core in a slow, controlled motion.
- Teaches you to articulate your spine.
- Stretches the muscles in the back and legs that cause tightness in the back
A) Lie flat on your back with your arms extended overhead.
B) Inhale arms to the sky, exhale and slowly roll up into a "C" curve reaching for your toes. (Think about threading your belly button to your spine, and activate your transverse abdominus.)
C) Inhale and start to slowly go back in a C curve.
D) Exhale as you uncurl your body one vertebra at a time back into the mat.
Be sure to keep your feet on the ground as you move slowly. Perform 6-8 roll-ups.
- Teaches the body to use core for stability
- Strengthens abs and low back
- Lengthens spinal column/posture
A) Kneel on the mat on all fours. Reach one arm long, draw in the abdominals, and extend the opposite leg long behind you.
B) Repeat on the other side.
Perform 8-10 per side. Move slow and steady, holding arm and leg out momentarily before switching.
- Strengthens all core muscles
- Engages stabilizers
- Teaches lengthening/posture
A) Begin lying on the floor with your forearms flat on the floor, making sure that your elbows are aligned directly under your shoulders.
B) Engage your core and raise your body up off the floor, keeping your forearms on the floor and your body in a straight line from head to feet. Keep your abdominals engaged and try not to let your hips rise or drop.
Hold forearm plank for 30 seconds to start, trying to progress to a 60-second hold.
- Strengthens back extensors
- Teaches core muscles to grip during movement
- Engages core
A) Lie on your stomach with the legs and arms extended. Engage your abdominals so you feel your transverse abdominis contract.
B) Lift your arms and legs off the floor and keep your nose in a hover above the mat. Flutter your arms and legs, moving from the hips and shoulders (not the knees and elbows) like you are swimming.
The goal is to keep the body stable as the limbs flutter quickly. Try for 30 seconds and work your way up to 60 seconds.
- Stretches the back
- Promotes relaxation
A) Begin with hands and knees on the mat, knees separated to the outer edges of the mat.
B) Sit your tailbone down and back between your heels and lower your belly between your thighs.
C) Stretch your arms long in front of you and relax your forehead onto the mat. Breathe fully and hold as long as you'd like.
Technically this is a stretch not an exercise, but you don't want to leave this off your list. The relief feels amazing. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
As always, consult with your doctor or physical therapist to know what's right for your type of back pain. Did you find relief with these five exercises? I'd love to hear from you below! Want to get more great exercises for back pain? We've got them for you at Get Healthy U!