Eliminate Back Pain for Good With These 12 Exercises
You stand up and your lower and upper back hurt, you sit down and your lumbar hurts. Nothing I could do would help.
Related - 10 Best Yoga Exercises For Lower Back Pain
Since lifting heavy is part of my existence, I knew that I had to fix something fast. My workouts were suffering, I lost interest in the gym, and I had basically given up.
I did more research on back issues and I realized that much of my back problems were lifestyle related instead of physically related. This means I don't have any slipped discs, arthritis, or any ailments like that. I just sat too much.
They say sitting is the new smoking. While I don't necessarily agree with that, sitting for extended periods of time (most of my day) really takes a toll on my back and the muscles that support our spine.
Add in poor posture from slumping over a computer all day, and you have a recipe for constant pain. So what did I do?
The exercises and stretches below should help make some improvement in your back. I highly advise going to your physician and getting checked out to make sure there's nothing wrong with your back other than pain.
Along with visiting your physician, I invite you to check out a chiropractor to see if a realignment could help.
12 Exercises That Will Help With Lower Back Pain
While none of these exercises fixed my back immediately, after about two weeks I noticed differences in how I stand and how I felt.
#1 - Bird DogI always wondered why this exercise was called "bird dog." After a little research, I found it was named this due to the fact the pose is similar to a hunting dog pointing at his prey.
- Get down on your hands and knees like a cheater push-up.
- Brace your core, inhale, and extend your right leg behind you.
- Bring your left arm straight in front of you and hold this position.
- Lower your arm and leg and return to your starting position.
- Repeat for the other side.
#2 - Bird Dog CrunchSimilar to the bird dog, we add another move into the mix - the crunch.
- As you are coming back to your original starting position, bring your elbow and knee together and get a good side crunch.
#3 - Glute BridgeGlute bridges help activate inactive glutes and help strengthen your core.
- Lay with your back flat on the floor and your knees bent.
- Press through your heels to raise your glutes and core off of the ground, placing all of the weight on your upper back.
- Maintain this bridge pose and alternate kicking your leg straight in the air.
#4 - Bridge PoseThis exercise is like the all-famous glute bridge, except you hold yours in air position.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Contract your glutes and core and do a normal glute bridge.
- Once you are fully extended, hold for 30 seconds.
- Slowly lower back down to starting position.
#5 - LocustThis exercise will be difficult for those who sit for long periods but will help tremendously.
- Lie on your stomach and keep your arms to your side.
- Contract your glutes and back as you make a banana shape with your body.
- Hold your head, chest, and legs like a smiley face for 45 seconds.
- Slowly let your body relax and get back to your starting position.
#6 - Dead BugA relatively easy exercise, this helps to strengthen your core and stretch out your lower back.
- Lie on the floor and bring your knees up, as if you were sitting in a chair.
- Bring your arms forward and touch them to your knees.
- Raise one arm out and stick the leg from the same side out.
- Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat with the other side.
#7 - ClamshellGreat for activating your inactive glutes, the clamshell is an easy exercise anyone can do.
- Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other.
- Pivoting at the hips, point your knee up to the sky.
- Hold this position for a good contraction and slowly bring it back to starting position.
- Add the use of a resistance band to add a challenge to this exercise.
#8 - Pilates Roll-UpAn amazing exercise that works great for anyone who sits too much, a Pilates roll-up is just for you. Don't fret, this exercise is not difficult and you will feel results almost immediately.
- Lay down on your stomach on the floor.
- Keeping your legs straight, place your arms so that you can do a push-up.
- Use your upper body to start stretching and pushing your upper body upwards.
- Keep your hips and legs on the ground and feel the stretch in your quads, hip flexors, and abs.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds.
#9 - PlanksThere are many benefits to performing planks. It builds an athletic body, helps correctively stretch and work muscles that are inactive, and they can be fun to push yourself.
- Get into a push-up position, using your elbows instead of your hands.
- Hold this position with a straight torso, keeping your core and glutes as tight as possible.
#10 - Pelvic TiltsTight lower back? This exercise is perfect for you.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, similar to a glute bridge.
- Instead of bringing your body up, squeeze your abs and tilt your pelvis forward so that your lower back contacts the ground more.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds.
#11 - Extended Toe TouchGreat for stretching out tight hamstrings and building strength in your core, this exercise is a keeper.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your arms extended out like a T.
- Doing a crunch, bring your right leg up and touch your left hand to your leg.
- Slowly come back to your starting position and repeat for the other side.
#12 - Wall SitsSomething I hated to do in school, wall sits help open up your hips, stretch your quads, and helps with the muscles around your spine.
- Stand with your back against the wall and slide down so you are in a deep squat position.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds.
Wrapping It UpIncorporating some or all of these exercises into your daily routine will help with back pain.
Our pain comes from a muscle imbalance, which forces our bodies to compensate. Having tight hip flexors from sitting all day pulls our hips out of whack and causes our core and back to take over the load.
These exercises will help strengthen muscles that were too weak, it will stretch muscles that are too tight, and you will gain a better understanding of your body and how it works.