I know I haven’t posted anything about muscles or exercises in a while so I thought it would be the perfect time to do just that! This post will be dedicated to all of our readers who have ever had back pain whether it is chronic or not, I’ll be explaning some exercises that everyone should be doing in order to help stabilize, strengthen & keep a healthy spine! The spine is made up of 4 sections: Cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine and sacral spine, each as important as the other and each serving their own function and purpose. Ever wondered how it is that we are able to stand upright and move without pain (or minimal in some cases:))? well thanks to our spine and of course the health of our spine. Here’s a picture of this long-looking piece of plywood (?) that works as our “support system” for our body:
Isn’t it Pretty? I think so and hard to believe that something so simple looking can be so complex.
Now onto protecting it and strengthening it: what should you do to prevent any back aches and pains or what should you do if you have pains? Good question, and I am happy to report that EXERCISE can fix all of the above. Rest assured, there are many exercises that can help stabilize one’s spine. Think about all the muscles around your “piece of plywood” and how strong they must be to keep it in place and prevent it from getting a “break” or a fracture. The most important part is of course; strengthening the muscles around the bone which is always the case and model when preventing or treating bone or joint issues. Because the spine is so complex and of course is attached and associated with so many muscle groups within our body, it is important to be as inclusive when targetting muscle groups with our exercise choices.
Now that I have said all that, let me give you some examples of great spine exercises with the recommendations; but don’t forget, these exercises should always been done in a safe progression and if you have any other exercise prescriptions, these should also be taken into account when adding new exercises into your routine.
The above picture is a warm-up or cool down/stretch routine for the lower back.
For those of you looking for some exercises to add to your routine to help strengthen, here’s a couple:
1. Plank- works the core muscles (lower back, abdominals, spine stabiliizor muscles & shoulders)
3. Back extensions- either with your hands on your forehead to assist if you are having trouble lifting your chest off the mat & have neck pains. YOu can also change it up to a superman where you alternate between R leg and L arm that you lift together, and switch.
4. Hip Bridge- You can also make this more difficult by changing the surface that your feet are on: i.e. stability ball, bosu ball, step OR you can also do single leg hip bridge to strengthen each side equally. Look for a neutral spine when executing this exercise & keep your gaze to the ceiling.
5. Lat Pulldown- this is of course if you have access to this machine at home or at the gym. Watch this exercise and lifting your hands above your head if you have shoulder problems also be careful about the weight/load you choose in order to be able to perform the exercise properly.
6. Row- This can be done using a machine designed for this or can be done using a band. Grab a stretch band and sit on the floor with your feet & legs together out in front of you, loop the band behind your feet, keep elbows beside the rib cage and row in & out using the band’s resistance for effectiveness of the exercise. if you have trouble sitting on the ground like so, you can choose to lean against something for spinal support.
I hope that these few exercises were helpful. Again, it is never too early to start thinking about the health of the most important and complex bone in your body!Until next time, keep moving!