Safeguard Your Back While Lifting
Lifting is a common cause of lower back pain. Common everyday activities, such as unloading grocery bags from the car or lifting your young child, can lead to lower back problems.
Lifting with your back bent, or lifting while twisting, may cause a sudden injury to your lower back or repetitive injury over a period of time, leading to chronic tissue damage.
Follow these lifting-guidelines to prevent lower back injury5:
- Bend at your knees, not at your lower back a completely flexed back can be highly susceptible to a ligament and/or disc injury
- Pivot your feet and hips, rather than twisting your lower back
- Hold the object close to your chest while straightening your spine
While lifting is a part of everyday activities, having a job that includes heavy lifting may increase your risk of developing lower back problems.5
See Avoid Back Injury with the Right Lifting Techniques
What Is The Best Lower Back Workout
A good way to set up is in the following 3 ways. Personally, I set up my workouts in the Upper/Lower fashion, so my posterior chain work is done on my lower body days.
You cannot isolate the lower back, as performing exercises which it is used in, also work the rest of the posterior chain , so it should not be included on a day of it’s own i.e. a “lower back day.”
Before all your workouts I encourage you perform a proper warm-up to prevent the chances of an injury occurring and also to allow ‘loosen you up’ and get you both mentally and physically prepared to perform at your best.
Here is a suggested warm-up:
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Benefits Of The Bird Dog
- A great low back endurance exercise that improves spinal stability. Lack of endurance in your core and back muscles can sometimes be a cause of low back pain.
- It helps people differentiate between hip extension and lower back hyperextension.
- Its a great anti-rotation core exercise, which essentially means youll be more adept at preventing rotation, which is useful when you brace your core.
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What Kinds Of Exercises Are Most Effective For Preventing Low Back Injury
Traditional beliefs among exercise practitioners and even rehabilitation professionals that strong back and abdominal muscles alone protect the back and reduce LBP episodes have never been validated by research or experience. It’s time to debunk that myth.
Mobility and flexibility of the lumbar region seems to be another fallacy. However, that doesn’t mean that strong and supple back muscles, if you have them, are a bad thing. Nevertheless, developing them by using exercises that are conventionally prescribed for a strong and flexible back sometimes inflicts injury. So, if neither strength nor lumbar flexibility guarantees a healthy back, then what does?
Studies on the biomechanics of the back suggest that muscle endurance is more protective than mere strength.
Stuart McGill, a world-renowned lecturer and expert in spine function and injury prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, suggests instead, in his book Low Back Disorder, Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation , that stabilizing the spine seems to be the answer.
The way to achieve and maintain spinal stability is to:
- Exercise the spine’s major stabilizing muscles:
- back extensor
- abdominal muscles
- abdominal muscles
- Exercise all these muscles in a special way – by sparing the back
“Sparing” means exercising withthe spine in a line with no additional load.
Always consult with a doctor or medical professional before beginning any type of exercise program.
Straight Arm Rope Pull Down
A straight arm rope pull down for a stronger back works the lats in two ways. First, it helps strengthen the lat muscles through a greater mind-muscle connection, which means that the exercise is easier to perform. Second, it trains the lats in two different ways, including shoulder extension and flexion. You can use a resistance band or a high anchor to perform this exercise.
The lats make up the majority of your back. When your lats are stronger, they will look bigger and your back will look larger. The lats will be more visible when you are wearing a shirt, as more muscles stick out. Regular lat isolation training will help you lift heavier weights during other back exercises. The straight arm pulldown will give you that shield-like back that youve always wanted.
To perform a straight arm rope pulldown, youll need a cable pulley or bar. A rope will allow for the most range of motion, but a bar will do as well. In addition, a rope allows you to use a wider grip, which will enhance lat activation. If you dont have a cable pulley, you can use a resistance band.
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The Muscles Of The Lower Back
The muscles of the low back are asked to fire for long periods of time throughout the day. Often, they have become dormant and underactive because of prolonged sitting. In order to keep them strong, it is important to regularly train these muscles and help to improve the endurance of them. The four exercises shown here, will do just that and they will help you to do it without requiring any expensive or elaborate back extension machines or equipment.
Bonus Tip: Lower Back Pain Is Directly Impacted By Your Overall Health
When you improve your overall physical fitness and general health, it will benefit your lower back. The following simple measures can help prevent the development, chronicity, or flaring of your lower back pain, such as:
- Staying active
- Minimizing the consumption of alcohol
- Getting enough deep, restorative sleep
- Following an anti-inflammatory diet
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Exercises To Strengthen Your Lower Back And Core
1. Bird Dog
This is a great safe exercise to improve core strength and lumbar back strength.
How to do it: Begin on your hands and knees with your hands positioned under your shoulders and knees positioned under your hips. Raise your left arm and reach it forwards until it is aligned with your torso at the same time, kick your right leg backwards until is it aligned with your torso. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat with your right arm and left leg. Alternate sides for 10 repetitions.** Ensure that your head, neck, and back maintain a neutral alignment to minimize stress on your neck.
2. Glute Bridge
This exercise helps to strengthen both your core, hamstring and gluteal muscles.
How to do it:Begin lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet positioned flat on the floor with your arms positioned beside your torso. Use your heels to push into the floor while you lift your pelvis off the floor until your upper body and thighs are positioned in a straight line. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and return slowly to the starting position. Aim for 10 repetitions.**Ensure that your gluteals and abdominal muscles are tightened during the movement to maintain proper bridge form.
The prone leg raises exercise engages the butt muscles and low back muscles.
This exercise is ideal for strengthening both your deep core and gluteul muscles.
5. Side Plank
6. Dead Bug
Exercise : Pull Aparts
Here’s how to straighten your back with the pull aparts:
- Setup by standing hip-width apart and squeezing your butt and core.
- From there, place one side of the band around your neck and grab the other side with your arms straight out in front of you.
- Keep your arms straight and drive your elbows apart from one another.
- Squeeze your upper back together. Think about pinching a pencil between your shoulder blades. Avoid arching the lower back or shrugging the shoulders up as you pull the band apart.
- When done properly, you should feel the muscles between your shoulder blades working.
- Hold this end position for 3 seconds. Then, come back to the starting position.
- Repeat for a total of 10 reps.
Don’t have a band? Then you can perform the scarecrow instead. Here’s how to perform that:
- Place your head on a chair, table, or significant other’s butt for support.
- Bend over at your hips, drive your elbows out and back – keeping them at 90 degrees.
- Hold that for 3 seconds without excessively arching your lower back.
- Then, rotate as far as you can and hold that end position for another 3 seconds before coming down.
- Repeat for a total of 5 reps.
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Keep in mind with all your workouts, to always try and increase weight or repetitions on all exercises every session in the given rep range i.e. say you did 6 reps with 250lbs on Romanian Deadlifts , next session you want to go for more than 6 reps with 250lbs. Eventually you’ll be able to do 12 reps with 250lbs on Romanian Deadlifts and at that point you should increase the weight by 10-15lbs.
How To Do The Superman
Lay face down comfortably on an exercise mat, forehead flat on the ground with arms and legs outstretched. Raise your hands and feet about. four to five inches off the floor while keeping your belly on the ground. Hold this raised position for three seconds and then lower your hands and feet slowly back to the floor. Thats one rep.
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Activate Muscles Before You Lift
Before you get your swole on, take a little time to get the glutes firing and your core bracing. This is helpful if you’d like to not ruin the next few months of your life with a low back injury.
Your glutes will assist you with your deadlift instead of just relying on your low back. Muscle activation for your core will help restore balance to the body before you go heavy. Here are some good pre-lift muscle activation exercises.
Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl
Lie on your back and place your feet on an exercise ball. Lift your hips and bend your knees, bringing your heels to your butt.
Lie on your back with your arms extended above you and your hips and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Extend one leg and the opposite arm at the same time while pressing your lower back into the ground.
Start in a tabletop position with your wrists stacked beneath your shoulders. Slowly extend your opposite arm and opposite leg in front of you while bracing your core.
Work The Neglected Deep Core Muscles
Working the core is crucial to avoiding future back pain, but that doesnt mean shredding your abs to look like Chris Hemsworth. Popular core-strengthening exercises, such as crunches or situps, primarily work the larger, exterior muscles, while neglecting the deeper muscles.
For instance, the transverse abdominis is a delicate sheetlike deep muscle that wraps the midsection like a corset. There is also the multifidus, a muscle that lines the spine, with a number of extensions that wrap each individual vertebrae, similar to the way a bicycle chain wraps the sprocket.
It doesnt take that much effort to activate these deep muscles, but they are neglected because you cant see them when you are at the beach, said Femi Betiku, a physical therapist at the New Jersey Center of Physical Therapy who specializes in treating lower back pain. People with six-packs can still have lower back pain, he added, if they are working only the stronger, outer muscles.
The deeper muscles get engaged during movements requiring more control than raw power. One way to activate your deep core muscles is , whether its a regular plank, a side plank or some of the many other variations.
If holding a regular plank is uncomfortable, start with your knees on the ground, then progress to balancing on your toes.
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Take A Closer Look At Your Training Program
Are you currently deadlifting? If not, and you’re able to, then start. The deadlift strengthens every muscle in your body, including your lower back. It’s the premier hip hinge movement and should be featured in your program.
Vary your deadlift. Use a straight bar AND a trap bar. If you’re using a straight bar every time, there’s a good chance you’re going to burn out your spinal erectors. The trap bar is a great way to train your hip hinge, and you get the added bonus of placing less stress on your lower back.
Think about the hip hinge movement pattern when you’re deadlifting. It doesn’t matter which tool you use as long as you’re getting stronger at the pattern.
In addition to your main lifts, play around with accessory movements such as deficit deadlifts, deadlifts from blocks, as well as sweeping deadlifts. Expose your body to a variety of different stimuli to keep the move interesting and prevent plateaus.
Include lots of glute and hamstring exercises. Strong glutes and hams will help you when trying to pull heavy weight from the floor. The more your hamstrings and glutes activate during the deadlift, the safer your lower back will be. Add glute bridges, GHDs, and good mornings to complement your heavier lifts.
Now that we’ve established that you need to deadlift and hit some accessory work for your hamstrings and glutes, let’s take a look at the core movements you’re doing.
Best Back Exercises To Build A V
Use this routine, full of back exercises using both weights and bodyweight, to achieve the ideal torso quick-sharp
All back exercises should start with a stretching exercise, which will loosen every muscle in your back. When you spend a lot of time in the same position cursing rush hour traffic from its very epicentre or staring into the depths of your computer screen until the early hours of the morning your upper back muscles become prone to stiffening, leading to poor posture and back pain. This stiffness will hinder your workouts and leave you suffering afterwards. So its time to take your stretching seriously lets twist.
Your move On all fours, place your right hand behind your head and brace your core. Rotate your right shoulder and elbow up and away from your left arm, until it points to the ceiling, hold it there for a moment. Thats 1 rep. Do 20. Then switch arms. All your pieces are ready now comes the hard part.
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Works Middle back, shoulders
Stop lifting with your arms during your back exercis. Bring in your back and shoulders and youll notice its easier to lug things around next time youre dragged to Ikea. Research in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery found working on your rotator cuffs at the top of your arms improves strength in other back muscles by 80%.
Works Outer back, spinal supporters
Works Middle and lower back
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The 5 Best Back Exercises For A Strong Back
Among the best exercises to build your back, the cable pull-down is a staple. Whether performed standing or seated, this exercise builds your back muscles. Heres how to do it. You can also try a bent-over one-arm cable pull down. If youre unable to do this at home, you can visit your local gym for more assistance.
How Important Is Exercise In Preventing Low Back Injury
The key to preventing lower back injury and pain , whether work-related or not, is physical conditioning. “Getting into shape” involves the overall conditioning of the body and the cardiovascular system. Aerobic exercise plus the exercising of the core muscles , are both critical for developing healthy and pain-free backs.
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Exercise Strengthens The Spine
The simplest way to strengthen your spine is to move regularly throughout the day, in whatever capacity works for you. This might mean increasing your daily steps, taking short walks during the workday or prioritizing a slightly longer walk in the morning or evening.
People who are physically active tend to have lower rates of back pain, and a recent meta-analysis of 25 studies found that the most effective way to prevent lower back pain from recurring was regular exercise, preferably combined with some form of physical education.
Exercise doesnt cure everybody, but on average, its an effective intervention, said Mark Hancock, a professor of physiotherapy at Macquarie University and one of the authors of the study. There is no single type of exercise that has been shown to be effective, he said. If you are doing a variety of exercises, then you are likely getting all the things you need, he said, adding, Its just like your diet.
Physical activity also strengthens the bones and cartilage of the spine, protecting against age-related degeneration, and increases blood flow to cartilage discs in the spine that dont receive a lot of blood supply, Dr. Shah said.
If you have time, try some fast walking or jogging. A number of studies suggest that runners have thicker, healthier cartilage discs in their spine than people who arent active.
How To Lift Small Objects
The golferâs lifting technique is particularly helpful in lifting small and light objects. This technique includes the following steps5:
- While one leg bears the bodyâs weight, lift the other leg off the floor and toward the back for counterbalance
- Support one arm on a stationary object, such as a table or a countertop and bend down at the hip so that the body becomes almost parallel to the floor
- Reach the free arm to pick up the object
This technique is considered safe for the lower back tissues because lifting one leg toward the back allows the spine to stay straight and the counterbalance offsets the strain on the back. The golferâs lift is particularly useful for the repetitive lifting of small objects.5
See Additional Lifting Techniques to Avoid Back Injury
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