Your lower back and core muscles are the foundation of your body’s movement, but some of the most common complaints we hear from patients are nagging issues with lower back pain. Chronic pain should be treated by your physician and appropriate exercises performed to ensure you’re treating your condition appropriately, but there are a few general exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back and protect it from further injury:
1. Wall Sits
Place your back flat against the wall, gradually sliding down until your knees bend at a 45-90-degree angle. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat 10-15 times. This exercise will strengthen your hamstrings and glutes to support your spinal column while keeping it in a completely straight orientation.
2. Two Knee Twists
Lying flat on your back, bring your knees up to your hands and hold the position. Stretch your back muscles by pulling gently on your legs, then twist slowly side to side while keeping your back as flat as possible. Repeat 10-15 times per side.
3. Bird Dogs
The classic yoga pose has lower back-saving potential, too! Get on your hands and knees and find your proper center of balance. Then, alternating either your left arm and right leg or visa versa, extend both extremities until they’re pointing directly parallel with the ground. Keep your back straight and prevent it from sagging, though! Repeat 10-15 times and hold the position for 10 seconds each.
Keeping your back and shoulders straight, step directly forward with your toes pointed straight ahead and bend your forward knee to a 90-degree angle and hold for 5-10 seconds without touching the floor. Then return to a standing position and repeat for the other leg. Do this 10-15 times per leg and your lower back, hip flexor, glutes, and hamstrings will thank you.
If you’re able to bear weight without aggravating your lower back pain, deadlifts are a great way to strengthen your entire core, shoulders, and legs at the same time. A full-body exercise, you can significantly increase the strength of your lower back when the exercise is performed with the proper form and support. Start out with only the weight of the bar (dumb bells work, too), keeping your feet should width apart and toes pointed straight forward. Arch your back as you drop straight down to grab the bar, then rise slowly maintaining your form. Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle for a partial deadlift or bring the bar all the way to the ground for a full deadlift. (Note: until you’ve perfected your form, it’s best to perform deadlifts with a partner and in front of a mirror).
To learn more about strengthening your core and supplemental exercises to help you move, live, and feel better everyday, contact 5focus in Seattle to schedule a body balance assessment and low-impact Kinesis program today!
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