Strength Exercises for the Back
Back pain is one of the most common physical complaints around the world. It's the leading reason people miss work or seek medical help. And this is not just among people who lift things for a living. It's also prevalent among people who sit at desks all day. Fortunately, strength exercises can help reduce back pain. Simple stress training strengthens back and supporting muscles, including stomach and leg muscles. This will take pressure off the spine, reduce feelings of tension and make you less likely to get sore. Here are five simple exercises you can do every day to prevent lower back pain and improve your posture. Additionally, read more about bad posture.
1. Wall sits:
Start by standing with your back to a wall, and your feet 12 inches or more from the wall. Lean backward so the full length of your back is touching the wall. Then slide your back downward until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle or less, pressing your lower back against the wall. Hold that position for 10 seconds, or longer if you can, then slide back up. Repeat up to 10 times, or more if comfortable.
2. Pelvic tilt
Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, tighten your stomach muscles so that your back presses into the floor. Your hips and pelvis will naturally rock back. Hold for 10 seconds or more while breathing in and out. Repeat 10 times.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your heels touching the floor, and with your arms by your sides. Raise your back and hips off the floor so that only your heels, shoulders, head and arms are still touching the floor. Hold for six seconds, then lower your hips to the floor and rest. Repeat 10 times.
Starting with a couple of times a week, get in the pool and swim for a short length of time, building up to longer sessions over time. Avoid using strokes like the freestyle that may rotate the body more than desired because of the alternating movement of the arms.
5. Cat curls
Start on all fours with knees and hands on the floor, and back and neck in a neutral, straight position. Slowly tighten your lower abdominals, arching your back towards the ceiling like a cat. Hold for 5 seconds, then release and return to neutral position. Repeat 10 times or as many times as comfortable.
Bonus: Knee-to-chest stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Use both hands to pull one knee up and press it to your chest while tightening your abdominal muscles and pressing your spine to the floor. Hold for five seconds. Then do the same with the opposite leg. Next, repeat the action but with both legs at the same time. Do this sequence two to three times — preferably one such set in the morning and one set at night.
Bonus: Lower back rotational stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your shoulders firmly on the floor as you roll your bent knees to one side. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably one set of repetitions in the morning and one set at night.
Of course, scheduling a massage is a good way to alleviate the pain of sore back muscles. But it also has an additional benefit: a massage specialist can help you pinpoint your problem areas, so you'll be better able to avoid developing the sore muscles in the first place. Sign up for one today!