Back pain is a common issue among many groups of people. The increase of desk jobs is often the cause of increased lower and upper back pain, as well as neck pain due to poor posture on a daily basis. For athletes and dancers, back pain can be attributed to constant stress and injury to the area. Whatever the cause, back pain is a nuisance that should be handled delicately. The best way to handle back pain is by using preventative measures before it becomes an issue.
I'd like to give you some tips on how to prevent back pain and strengthen the muscles to support your spine. Be sure to check back next Friday for part 2 of this post. Please remember, that if you have any health issues or injuries, you must talk to your doctor first.
Avoiding Chronic Back Pain
The first step is strengthening the muscles of your trunk. When you have a strong core and back, you are less likely to get injured or have poor posture. Strong, flexible muscles are key to maintaining a healthy balance throughout your body. Today we will focus on strengthening the back.
Strengthening the Back
1. Bent-over rows - hitch forward from the hips keeping your knees slightly bent and your back straight. Grab your weights, holding them with your palms facing toward each other. Pull the weights up at your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together and release.
2. Seated cable row - using a band wrapped around your feet or a rowing machine, keep your knees slightly bent and your palms facing toward each other. Pull the band toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Gently release your arms back.
3. Flys - hitch forward from the hips keeping your knees slightly bent and your back straight. Grab your weights, holding them with your palms facing toward each other and your elbows slightly bent. Open your arms up laterally, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Gently bring your arms back down.
4. Wide-grip pull up - grasp the bar with an overhand grip and fully extend your arms and relax your shoulders. As you pull up, keep your elbows out to your sides and pull yourself up as high as possible. You can use a band tied around the bar and wrapped around your knee for support or you can have a spotter help you up until you build up enough strength on your own.
5. Straight arm lat pull-down - secure a resistance band in a door or use a lat pulldown machine. Stand far enough back so that you can keep your arms completely straight. Hold the band/bar in your hands and pull it down toward your hips making sure you're not bending your elbows. Gently release your arms back up.
6. Back extensions - lay face down on a bench or exercise ball making sure your upper body is slightly hanging off. Cross your arms over your chest or behind your head and slowly bend at the waist going up as far as you can. Gently bring your body back down to the starting position.
Make sure you are taking it very slow when starting any of these exercises. Don't use heavy weights when starting out and slowly build up your repetitions over the course of a month or so. I recommend starting with 5-10 repetitions of each exercise to start out.
Next Friday we will discuss strengthening the core for all around stability for your back.
Until next time,