Ouch, My Aching Back!

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Until you experience chronic back pain, it’s hard to imagine how much it can negatively impact all areas of your life. The sad reality is that 80% of us will suffer with back pain at some point in our life. But the good news is that…..

……90% of lower back problems are preventable with inadequate core strength being a leading cause!

The key to the health of your back is understanding the concept of co-contraction, that is, that the muscles of the abdominal region must work together with the muscles along the back of your spine to keep your spine stabilized and that your core must be strong from all angles…front, side, back and hips. All you have to do is make a focused effort at strengthening your core muscles to allow you to move better, minimize muscle imbalances and promote better posture.

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Here are a few key low back strengthening exercises that you can do anywhere with no equipment whatsoever.

Perform the following 3x/week. And to really ramp up your back conditioning program, avoid sitting for extended periods of time which is a real back killer!

Tri-Pod Training: 

tripod4Start on your hands and knees and position your arms directly under your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips.  Keep your abdominals contracted inwards and your spine completely stabilized.  Your back should be completely neutral and it should feel like a straight line from your tailbone to the top of your head.  Start the exercise by lifting the opposite arm and leg, reaching the arm out in front of you and the opposite leg stretching behind you.  While you lift the leg, be sure to not shift all your body weight to the side that is supporting you.  Try to stay completely stabilized.  Try to avoid arching your back as you lift the arms and/or legs – think more about reaching the arms and legs rather than lifting so high that you have to arch your back. Complete 10-15x each side


planktoesLie on your stomach.  Position your elbows under your shoulders.  Contract your abdominal muscles and then slowly lift your body onto your toes and your elbows.  Keep your back straight from head to toe. Remember to breathe.  Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat 10-15 times

Supine Bridge Training: 

bridgeb1Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles and slowly lift your buttocks off the floor.  Slowly roll up until your body weight is resting on the top of your shoulder blades and your knees and shoulders are in a straight line.  Keep your hips square to the ceiling.  Try to avoid letting your pelvis rotate.  Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly release down.  Perform 10-20 reps.

Side Plank: 

Lsideplankbie on your side.  Position your bottom elbow under your shoulder.  Contract your abdominal muscles and then slowly lift your body onto your toes and your elbow.  Keep your back straight from head to toe and try not to lean forward. Remember to breathe.  Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat 10-15 times

Back Extension:

backextensionLie on your stomach with your hands behind your head and shoulder blades pulled together.  Keep your stomach muscles contracted throughout the entire exercise as you slowly lift your chest up off the floor.  Avoid lifting too high. It’s more about holding in an extended position versus arching your low back. Hold for a few seconds and repeat 5-10 times.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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