If back pain is an unfortunate part of your day-to-day life, check out these exercises to help alleviate the stress on your back.
Picture these two extremes:
- Sedentary Susan has back pain because she sits at a desk all day, which produces tight hip-flexors, poor posture, weak abdominals, and stiff, sedentary muscles.
- Jumping Jane has a rigorous fitness schedule. The repetitive motion of running and jumping produces pounding of the body weight on her spine. In addition, her lack of stretching following a training session creates tight hips and hamstrings which pull on the back.
Two entirely different situations, but the same outcome: a bad back!
Even those who don’t fall into those categories feel back pain from bad mattresses, poor walking posture, standing too much, sitting too much, repetitive golf or tennis swings, and the list goes on. I guess once you start to consider it, the answer as to why it’s more and more common seems obvious. So what’s the solution?
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.
Full Body Roll-Up
- — 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.