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Exercises to Help Strengthen Your Back

Whatever your age or activity level, back pain can occur for several reasons, and the most common is improper posture, repetitive motions, muscle weakness, or strain. It’s important to maintain good posture and do exercises for your back muscles to avoid aggravating soreness and discomfort in your lower back. This blog article explores some simple ways to strengthen your back with various exercises that may help decrease the frequency of pain when it occurs.

What you need to know about back pain:

Back pain can be a nuisance and may disrupt your daily activities. However, there are ways you can help prevent it from occurring or reduce its frequency of occurrence. Back pain may be a sign of other health issues but is often due to an improper posture, strain, or weakness in the lower back muscles.

Simple Exercises to Help Reduce Back Pain

1. Bridges

The gluteus maximus is one of the biggest muscles in your body and helps support your spine. Strengthening this muscle will help you maintain good postural alignment and prevent unnecessary strain on your lower back muscles.

How to:

Lie on your back with both feet flat on the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise up through your hips until you are in a bridge position (similar to when doing Plank). This will strengthen your gluteus maximus as well as other core muscles. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, and lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat ten times.

2. Drawing-in maneuver

The transverse abdominis is a deep muscle in your abdomen that helps support the spine and pelvis. The drawing-in maneuver is a great exercise to strengthen this muscle and may help decrease the frequency of back discomfort.

How to:

Lie on your back with both feet flat on the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Relax your arms at your sides with palms facing down. Tighten and draw in your abdominals as if trying to bring your belly button toward your spine. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat ten times.

3. Lying Lateral Leg Raises

The hip abductor muscles are used by the legs when walking. The lying lateral leg raises are a great exercise to strengthen this muscle and may help decrease the frequency of back discomfort.

How to:

Lie on your left side with your knees bent in line with your hip, feet flat on the floor, and arms by your sides. Using your right hand, lift up on the outer edge of your left foot so that it is in line with the sole of your foot. Hold for 10 seconds and then lower down. Repeat ten times on each leg.

4. Supermans

Your back extensors run along the top of your back, and the Superman exercise is a great way to strengthen this muscle group.

How to:

Lie on your stomach with your chin resting on the floor while both arms are extended above your head. Keeping legs straight, raise each arm and leg off the ground to form a “Superman” shape. Hold for 6 to 10 seconds and then lower back down. Repeat ten times.

5. Partial curls

The abdominal muscles play a major role in protecting your back and spine. Helping to maintain a strong core is an important way to help lower your risk of back pain. Partial curls are a great exercise to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

How to:

Lie on the floor with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor, and arms by your sides, palms facing down. Tighten up your abdominal muscles and raise your head, shoulders, and upper back off the ground so that only your lower back touches the floor. Using your arms, raise up and squeeze your abdominal muscles as you slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor.

6. Lower Back Rotational Stretches

A common problem that may lead to back discomfort is poor back flexibility. Lower back stretches are a great way to stretch out the muscles to help reduce tension and possible pain in the lower back muscles.

How to:

Start on all fours with your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle, arms extended overhead, and shoulders down. Lift your hips off the ground so that your torso forms a straight line from shoulder to shoulder. Next, turn your head to the left and touch the floor using your arm. Hold for 5 seconds and then turn your head to the right and touch the floor with your arm. Repeat five times on each side.

7. Pelvic tilts

The pelvic tilt is a great exercise to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, and abdominals.

How to:

Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten up your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis forward by raising the small of your back off the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and then release back down. Repeat ten times.

8. Cat stretches

The cat stretch is a great exercise to loosen your back muscles and help reduce pain caused by muscle strains.

How to:

Kneel on the floor on all four limbs. Keeping your back straight, lower your shoulders and head down toward the ground while raising your buttocks up off the floor. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat five times.

9. Knee-to-chest stretches

Lower back stretches are a great way to stretch out your lower back muscles and may help reduce tension in those areas.

How to:

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Using your arms, pull one knee up toward your chest until you feel a comfortable tightness in your lower back muscle. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat ten times.

Conclusion

Numerous studies and statistics have shown that even light, regular physical activity can decrease the risk of back pain caused by repetitive movements. Using a yoga mat or foam roller and your normal exercise routine is a great way to increase your flexibility and bolster your strength so that you are less likely to experience back discomfort. Stretching is yet another important step in preventing back pain, as stress can contribute to muscle tension that increases the risk of injury.

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/lower-back-exercises
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323204