Lower Back Pain Exercises – Part 1
Strengthening the Core Muscles
In order to strengthen your lower back, you need to strengthen your core muscles. The best lower back pain exercises will strengthen your core quickly and effectively as long as you remain consistent, and do the exercises regularly.
As these exercises are more intense toning exercises than the warm-ups, don’t do them every day. Do these lower back exercises every three or four days to begin with, and you can eventually increase them to every two days, but you can get to an excellent level of fitness just doing these exercises only twice a week if you stick to them.
One of the most popular ones is crunches, but people can often get those wrong. Some people swing themselves forward, and they should be very tiny movements. Other people think crunches are not a powerful enugh exercise, and that they should be doing sit-ups as that’s what they’ve seen the armed forces doing on TV!
Crunches are incredibly effective, but you must do them correctly.
The woman in the photo doing crunches has her feet up, as if she was about to start doing sit-ups with her feet tucked under a foot bar. For crunches it is better to have your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your tummy as much as you can and make sure your whole back is pushed as far into the floor/mat as possible. You can achieve this by pushing your feet into the floor.
Then concentrate only on your abdominals, and keep you chin rounded forward. The only thing that should be moving is the stomach and lower back; just two inches. If holding your hands behind your head is uncomfortable for your back, try holding your arms out in front of you, while rounding the shoulders forward. Do eight sets of eight reps, but fewer if they hurt, and build them up.
The obliques look like gills on either side of your tummy when you are buff and ripped. No, you can’t see mine either, but I know they’re there somewhere!
Only start to do the oblique exercises once you have done straight crunches for several weeks, or when you no longer feel back pain. They are harder to do, so you only have to start off with a small number of them for them to make a difference.
Make sure you take a good rest after each rep, and make sure you only move one or two inches. Again, your arms head and neck should be fixed in relation to your upper back. Also make sure you do the same number on each side!
Lots of exercise classes and videos will tell you to lift the opposite knee up towards your elbow when you twist your torso over. So your right elbow meets your left knee and so on. This is a more intensive workout and is more appropriate for advanced aerobics toning. It might not be suitable for lower back pain. So start off with just gently twisting to the left for four reps, then rest for four counts. Then to the right for four reps, then rest for four counts.
GLUTEALS, BACK AND THIGHS
To strengthen the gluteals and lower back, again only after a substantial warm-up, get on a mat on your hands and knees, and lift one leg up to the side as high as is comfortable, and down again so the knees meet. Do four sets of four repetitions to begin with, resting for a few seconds in between each set. Repeat for the other leg.
Also in the same position, move your bent leg back slowly, so the bottom of your foot is facing the ceiling. Keep the leg bent at the same angle throughout and bring the leg down again. Do the same number as last time for each leg.
To stretch after this exercise, sit back on your ankles and lean right over as if in a ball, but with your arms stretched out in front. This will arch your back the opposite way to the previous exercise and prevent backache. It is best to do this stretch immediately after the last exercise, rather than wait to do it with the other stretches.
It is important to cool down and stretch the back muscles after a more intense workout, so that future exercises are a lot easier. By doing this your back muscles are able to relax and your blood pressure will stay stable, instead of decreasing too quickly.
This next back stretch, known as the Cat Stretch, should be done with care, and you should move in a slow fluid motion. It is also best to keep your abdominals tight the whole time too, as this will take the pressure off your back.
Just arch your back upwards for a few seconds, and back down as you were before. But do not relax in this postion. Keep your tummy tight, and don’t let the weight of your back pull your torso down. This exercise must be controlled at all times, or you can hurt your back.
Only do this one for a few seconds and build up the time. Most people OVER-DO this exericse, because it seems so easy!
REAR THIGH AND BACK STRETCHES
Some Back Stretches allow you to gently stretch other muscles such as the back of the thighs after they have been contracted. This next exercise is a great stretch for sciatica sufferers as well as for the whole back. Sit on the floor with your legs out in front, with your feet together or about a foot apart.
Roll forward and try to touch your toes. Hold your torso down for ten seconds, or less if it is uncomfortable. Roll up very gently and keep your chin touching your chest the whole time.
It does not matter if you cannot roll forward very far; just do what you can. You will still be able to get a good stretch, and you will be able to improve more and more, as you continue to do them.
This becomes much easier very quickly. It will only feel like it is pulling your upper back and upper thighs if you are out of shape. If you stay active and do the other exercises first, you will notice a difference as soon as the second time you do this!
Another stretch is very similar, but with the legs wide apart this time. Roll forward as before. You have probably seen really flexible people do this one, where they make themselves look like a perfect T shape, as they can roll all the way to the floor. It’s not important that you make a perfect T. You just need to do the exercise as best you can in comfort.
As with all this stretches, you will get better in time. But the main thing is that you are stretching the muscles that you toned and strengthened earlier.
Now with the legs in the same position, roll down one leg as far as you can while comfortable.
Stay rolled down over one leg for ten seconds, and hold your lower leg or foot if you can, then gently roll up. Repeat for the other leg.
If you were to do the toning exercises (the back and core exercises) every three or four days, you will strengthen your back very quickly. But the warm-ups and easy stretches could be done every day, and you will strengthen your back even sooner.
Lower Back Pain Exercises 2 –>