How to Strengthen Lower Back Pain
About the Author
Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author of One Size Does NOT Fit All Diet Plan, one of Amazon's Top Gluten-Free and Weight Loss Diets. (You may read more about Abby at the bottom of this article.)
Banish Back Pain for Good
If you're in your 30s to 40s and experiencing lower back pain for the first time, you're not alone! As you age, it becomes more common. However, you don't have to become a statistic and resort to constant doctor appointments, pain killers, or canes. For goodness sakes, you are still young! And, if you've been striving to reach your fitness goals, you don't have to give them up either.
Many of you have probably never given much thought to your back. You may have been an athlete your entire life, played college basketball or volleyball, and even picked up recreational activities along the way such as hiking, rock climbing, and kickboxing. So, what gives now?
All it takes is suffering one blow. Turning the wrong way while biking or even carrying too heavy of a grocery load on one arm can do a number on your back. When that happens, you feel like your life stops as it doesn't matter whether you lie down, stand up, walk, or crawl. You are going to hurt.
Disability for back pain is so common that it is second to the common cold when it comes to taking time off from work. According to the National Athletics Trainers Association, Americans spend more than $24 billion treating back pain each year.
The good news is that you cannot only avoid, but also treat, back pain in the gym. You just have to have the right approach. So, we're going to go over a few basics below to learn how to strengthen lower back pain. Also, you'll be given a back pain workout that will provide you with some relief. Not only will you reduce back pain, but you will finally overcome it. You just need to be consistent.
Back Pain Prevention Is Important
Even if you don't have back pain (yet), you could be exercising in ways that can lead to muscular imbalances that lead to back problems down the road. Below are a few examples:
- Doing mini crunches to strengthen your core is a great exercise. However, mini crunches do not target the deeper abdominal muscles called 'transverse abdominis,' which plays a tremendous role in spinal stability.
- Using dumbbells, barbells, and other weight resistance equipment in the gym is great for strengthening muscles. However, if you use weights that are too heavy, you may create problems for your back as you substitute the targeted muscles with your back and hamstrings to lift those weights. This risks injury.
- Being eager to workout intensely is great. However, jumping into any heavy-duty workout without a proper warmup risks injury. Your core body temperature hasn't risen enough to prepare for those heavy moves. Therefore, it's always wise to start off with a good warmup exercise such as walking or jogging briskly for five to 10 minutes and then doing some mobility moves such as cat-camels (arching and rounding your back for 10 to 15 seconds each several times).
Take the Poll!
Do you warmup properly before exercising?
Permission From Your Back Pain Doctor Is a Must
Even though studies have proven that back pain is worse for those who are complacent than those who are active, it's always best to be on the safe side, Check with your chiropractor or back pain doctor before starting or continuing on any exercise program. Your doctor will know the best treatment route for you as he'll know what type of injury you have. So, make sure you receive permission before continuing.
Once you have an okay from your doctor, you may want to keep your cardiovascular strength up with switching from running on a treadmill to climbing on an elliptical. Just make sure you invest in a good pair of shoes that absorbs impact.
Bird Dog Exercise
Cat Camel Exercise
Back Pain Workout is Essential for Strength
No matter how bad the pain, sometimes you know you must keep moving. After all, you have to keep a living by going to work. Your toddlers may even keep you busy playing with them. And, for goodness sakes, you do have to eat! The grocery shopping cannot tolerate a back excuse.
Therefore, you will want to add some core strengthening exercises to your workout routine. Exercises like the following should strengthen your back. Many of these moves are a form of pilates, and pilates for back pain relief is the best option for many who suffer.
- Bird Dog
- Cat Camel
- Back Extensions (including those with a stability ball)
Anything pertaining to functional fitness will help as well. Functional training is a classification of exercises that help you with normal performance or functions of your daily life. Therefore, you may want to rotate your exercises rather than sticking to one. By doing this, your entire body will be strengthened for daily activities. If you enjoy kickboxing, switch it up with Pilates. If you enjoy weightlifting, you can rotate it with other activities like swimming, hiking, or playing basketball. Variety is the key!
Good Posture Will Keep You Balanced
If you've ever been to a festival, wedding, or church revival in a big white tent, you can then envision how your back and muscles work together. Think of your spine as the center pole that keeps the tent up. Your muscles are like the guy wires and stakes that keep the pole upright in each direction. Following are some of those muscles:
- Your core muscles are made up of transverse abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques.
- The psoas muscles connect the upper torso with the pelvis and located on the lower side of the back.
- Major back muscles called the erector spinae and lattissimus dorsi keep the spine upright and mobile.
- Even your glutes play a role in a healthy back. That's right! I'm talking about your butt.
What do you think would happen if you pulled out a few stakes of that big white tent? That's right. It would beging sagging. A similar thing would happen with your back when you start suffering imbalances. Poor posture doesn't allow your body to actively engage your muscles while you go through daily living. So, make sure you plant both feet on the ground while sitting or standing, and relax your shoulders away from your ears to keep a healthy back.
Strength Training Workouts
- How to Exercise Transverse Abdominal Muscles
Looking for a quick weight loss program, how to lose baby fat, or how to lose abdominal fat? Learn how to flatten your stomach with the best stomach exercises. Get ripped with transverse ab workouts.
- Beginner Tips for Safe Cardio Exercising
Cardio exercise can be fun, especially for beginners. There are so many different ways to exercise your heart, but essential tips will help you get started. Know what to do and expect before starting.
No matter how bad it can be, just know that you can reduce or eliminate back pain with the correct treatment. Whether it's a few stretching exercises, weight training, or pilates for back pain relief, exercise is key in strengthening and balancing the muscles. To summarize, four things you need to remember are:
- Back pain prevention is important.
- Permission from your back pain doctor is a must.
- Back pain workout is essential for strength.
- Good posture will keep you balanced.
Never give up! Where there is a will, there is a way!
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About the author
Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author. For the past 10 years, she has coached thousands of women locally and online to lose body fat and lead healthy lifestyles. Her clients have lost thousands of pounds, reclaimed health, and call her “Coach No Gimmick.” She is from Northern Virginia but now resides near Charlotte, North Carolina. Abby has been married for 20 years and has three grown daughters, one of which is autistic. She is a 19 year cancer survivor.