Exercises For Low Back Pain

What Are Some Good Exercises For Low Back Pain?

As a longtime Austin personal trainer and gym owner, I’m asked many fitness questions routinely, but I’m also asked a lot of physical therapy questions, as that is something that has become a niche for my training company over the years. One such question that is asked of me rather frequently, is what are some exercises for low back pain?

Millions of people all over the world suffer from low back pain and there are seemingly as many solutions, as there are people in need of one. Exercises for low back pain may be what is in order to solve the problem, but there are many other holistic, as well as medical approaches that may be more appropriate. For example, if you are having a bad day because your back feels tight and you know you slept on a lumpy old mattress the previous night, decompression surgery is likely not in the cards for you. Conversely, if you suffer from spinal stenosis, or ankylosing spondylitis, a gentle back rub isn’t going to do the trick either.

Once we know concretely what the problem, and/or the cause of it is, we can go about repairing it. Sometimes, in the case of underdeveloped abdominal muscles, the pelvis will actually have an anterior tilt. The result of this condition is atrophied low back muscles, as they have shortened considerably. If you catch this problem in it’s infancy, you simply do some stretching to lengthen the muscles, and then some strength training in order to, well, strengthen them. This way they’re at their proper length and strong, so they can support what they need to support, and allow movement as intended. If you ignore this problem for too long, inflammation will set in and it will cause a burning sensation at times… especially after prolonged periods of standing or sitting. Long term, if you let the problem fester and promise to get to it tomorrow, for the next few years, you could see some spinal degeneration. This is obviously a big deal which includes a whole host of other problems along with it.

In choosing the appropriate exercises for low back pain for your specific condition, we have to factor in a lot of variables such as age, medical history, weight training experience, and so on. Another thing to bear in mind when deciding upon which exercises for low back pain you’ll implement into your workout regimen, if you have one, is that like anything in the fitness world, results don’t magically happen overnight. You have to start slowly and work your way up, so to speak.

One of my favorite basic exercises for low back pain has always been Good Mornings. These are simple, effective, and most of all, as gentle or as hard as you care to make them. To do them properly, place a weighted bar across your rear shoulder area, or don’t, and stand up straight with your feet about 12 inches apart. With your abdominal muscles engaged, slowly tilt forward by pushing backwards through your glutes all the while keeping your knees only slightly bent. Once you feel you have reached an appropriate depth, squeeze your abdominal muscles and return to the erect position. Do this for as many repetitions as you need to until you feel some fatigue in the low back area, and then rest.

Basic crunches are adequate as well, but they are more likely to be performed incorrectly as most people don’t realize the necessary form. If you simply scrunch your back and pull your knees to your chest, whether you alternate sides, or not, you are working much more of your hip flexors than your abdominals. To do these correctly, you’ll need to maintain a flat back through proper posture and ensure an extra squeeze at the top of the motion in order to maximize contraction, as well as the subsequent recruitment of all the available muscle fibers.

Planks are usually a good choice as they are a very low impact exercise, but also one which incorporates the core muscles, along with the abdominal muscles. To do these properly, simply put yourself in a pushup position on the floor, but substitute your forearms for your hands for resting your upper body weight on. Another consideration is that you don’t arch your hips up too high, nor do you sag your belly to the floor. You want to be perfectly flat when doing planks. Once you’ve mastered the technique, do it for time. Start with a modest goal of 20 seconds, for example, and work your way towards holding it for a minute, then 2, and 3 minutes.

Almost all of the exercises for low back pain revolve around the abdominal muscles because of the relationship between a strong abdominal muscle group, and a properly sitting pelvis. With that said, you can do virtually any abdominal exercise you like, so long as it’s appropriate to you personally. If there are medical issues involved such as bulging discs, spinal arthritis, etc, then you’ll need to go a different route, at least initially before worrying about exercises for low back pain. In these cases, corrective flexibility performed by an experienced personal trainer or body worker is in order, as well as some vital information that only medical professionals can provide via x rays, and the like, in advanced cases.

No matter which route you need to take, start gently and work your way up. Learn some proper stretches and employ them daily. If you don’t keep the muscles in and around your hips, including your glutes, etc, elongated, you won’t get very far. It’s impossible and furthermore, irresponsible for me to say blindly what you personally should do for low back exercises without a face to face meeting, but speaking generally, if you lengthen the tightened muscles, and then slowly strengthen them, you will restore stability to the region and have a far greater quality of life.

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My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
Exercises For Low Back Pain
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Exercises For Low Back Pain
Longtime Austin personal trainer discusses various exercises for low back pain, including who can do them, how, and why.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270