As we age, the discs in our spine wear down, placing pressure on our spinal cord, which causes lower back pain, Dr. Alexis Tingan, MD, CAQSM, a physician at Penn Medicine said. If you are trying to change that this New Year, there are exercises that may help you solve your lower back issues.
Lower back strength exercises are beneficial for easing back aches. Overall, performing lower back workouts improves how you function in your day-to-day activities– and this is a great New Year’s resolution, too!
Fitness experts strictly require warming up our bodies before partaking in any physical activities to avoid any injuries like a muscle strain. This ensures that your heart rate is in check with the required respiratory rate for the type of exercise you'll perform. Additionally, it also gives you endurance to execute tougher workouts, M.D. Johnny Lee, the President of the New York Heart Association explained.
You know you had a good warm-up when you feel an increase in your body temperature. This is good because as your body gets warm, oxygen enters your body efficiently to supply nutrients and energy to your muscles. When your muscles have adequate nutrients, performing challenging workouts and gaining muscle mass becomes easy.
Performing warm-up for 5-10 minutes is the ideal period. Make sure to engage your entire body when warming up for better oxygen and blood flow.
Lower Back Workouts
A strengthened lower back provides you with a strong body foundation by building muscle mass in your lower body such as the leg, hips, glutes, and hamstrings. Here are lower back workouts to help you reach your health and fitness goals:
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1. Stand upright and feet hip-width apart. Place your fingers behind your ears.
2. Engage your core and keep your back flat. Lower your upper body by pushing your hips back.
3. Hold, then return to a standing position.
Tips• Make sure your torso is almost parallel to the ground when lowering down.
• Use a barbell, dumbbell, or resistance band as you gain strength and master proper form to get bigger.
• For beginners, aim for at least 12 reps.
• Be mindful of your form when doing this exercise to avoid lower back injuries.
Benefits• Good morning improves your hip mobility to allow you to perform other weighted lower body exercises safely like a deadlift.
• It heavily targets your hamstrings or the back of your thigh and your glutes to increase lower body strength.
• It also helps prevent lower back pain by boosting erector spinae strength or the large deep muscle in your back.
1. Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and arms extended ahead of you.
2. Simultaneously raise your arms and legs, keeping 6 inches distance from the ground.
3. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds, then lower back to the starting position.
Tips• Maintain your head in a neutral position when lifting your arms and legs to avoid neck strain.
• Brace your core, glutes, and shoulder blades throughout the routine. You should feel the contraction in your lower back muscles.
• Perform the superman exercise for 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Benefits• This promotes strong back muscles to resolve back pains, poor posture, and discomfort.
• The superman workout is suitable for people of all fitness levels as it is convenient and requires only your body weight and the floor to perform and complete the exercise.
• Aside from working your back muscles, it also provides increased strength in the core muscles, legs, hamstrings, and glutes.
Other Variations of Superman Exercise
It does not matter whether you’re a newbie or someone who is looking for a challenge, there are lots of superman variations you can try.
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1. Assume a crawling position. Keep your knees and hips aligned, as well as your hands and shoulders.
2. Stretch your right arm forward and your left leg back while maintaining your opposite arms and leg on the ground.
3. Hold for 3 seconds. Repeat with the other side.
Superman Towel Row
(Image by goodhousekeeping.com)
1. Grip the ends of a towel and stretch it out while extending your arms out and legs back.
2. Pull the towel towards your chest while keeping your arms and legs elevated.
3. Push back and repeat 8-12 times.
(Image by gymnasticbodies.com)
1. Lay on your stomach over a bench. Position yourself until your torso hangs off at the end of the bench.
2. Cross your arms on your chest, and anchor your feet down to hold them in place.
3. Allow your upper body to hang freely, then raise your torso until it forms a straight line.
4. Slowly lower down and repeat.
Tips• You may get a partner to hold your feet and check your form.
• You should feel your shoulder blades and back muscles engage.
• Make sure to lift your chin at the top of every repetition.
Benefits• The arch-up exercise increases spinal mobility.
• It strengthens your lower back while helping you burn fat and increase muscle mass in your back.
• It also improves your balance and endurance to give you strength for more challenging exercises.
(Image by experiencelife.com)
1. Begin in a high-plank position with your hands and feet planted on the ground.
2. Lift your left hand from the ground and pull it up to your shoulder.
3. Return to the plank position and repeat to the opposite hand.
Tips• You may add resistance by lifting dumbbells with your active hands.
• Try not to over-rotate your torso by driving your elbow toward your lower ribs, instead of rowing it up.
• Maintain straight hips throughout the routine. Avoid rotating your hips.
• For beginners, aim for 2 sets of 8-10 reps on each arm.
Benefits• Renegade rows build increased upper body strength, including your lower back and core.
• While it primarily targets the muscles in your torso, it also works almost every muscle in your body such as your arms and legs.
• This is a great foundational exercise for dynamic movements and infinite progressions. Meaning, when you master renegade rows, you may add push-ups and jumps to your routine.
• This exercise improves strength, balance, and stability.
(Image by workouttrends.com)
1. Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and feet below your hips.
2. As you inhale, curve your lower back and lift your head to mimic a “cow” stance.
3. Exhale, bring your abdomen in, arch your spine, and bring your head down like a “cat.”
Tips• Lift your head slowly and with control to avoid straining your neck. Also, try not to lower your head forcibly.
• Keep your arms straight and your shoulders relaxed when doing the exercise.
• You may rest on your fist if you feel pain in your wrists or other body parts.
Benefits• The cat-cow exercise flexes the spine to allow better circulation in the discs in your back.
• It helps promote a healthy spine to relieve lower back pain.
• This exercise improves your balance and posture.
Maintain a healthy spine and back so that you can perform daily activities effectively and without experiencing pain and discomfort. The exercises listed above will prevent lower back pain and bad posture.
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