We probably don’t need to be reminded to do ab exercises, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a six-pack?
We work out our biceps for the ladies, legs for the men, but what about our back? Most of us don’t exercise our back as often as we should. Some people think that beach body ready is, core, arms and legs, and the muscles of the back are often left in the dust.
Are you sitting at a computer right now? Or on your phone? How’s your posture? The muscles of the back are weakened every time you have poor posture. When the muscles are weakened, it can open up a whole can of back pain.
Sit up straight and let’s talk about the importance of training the muscles of the back. Back exercises are for more than just looking good. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends spending 10 to 30 minutes a day exercising to relieve back pain. Here are a few reasons you should be sure to include back exercises into your daily routine.
3 Reasons You Should Exercise Your Back:
1. AVOID PAIN
Isn’t the reason you're reading this to help your pain? Strengthening the muscles of the back can help you avoid back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. When the muscles of the back are exercised as much as the muscles in the front of your body, it creates balance. Creating this muscular balance in your body can help you avoid back pain. Muscle balance and strong back muscles will also decrease your chances of muscle strain and further injury or pain.
2. REDUCE TENSION
Exercising the muscles of the back can reduce stiffness and tension. Back exercises will improve mobility in the spine by reducing the tension in the muscles. When strain is prevented, so is injury and more back pain. As exercise reduces tension in the back muscles, it will also allow the discs to receive nutrients needed to function properly. Tension in the muscles can result in back pain and loss of mobility. Back exercises will stretch, strengthen and repair muscles that help support the back.
3. CONFIDENCE and BETTER POSTURE
The muscles along the spine, the erector spinae, help you to strut tall, strong and confident. These muscles work to hold your body upright and in the correct position. Exercising your back muscles will give the erector spinae strength to carry you across that red carpet (or your daily walks through the office). With stronger muscles in the back, you will automatically feel your posture change. Strengthening the muscles of the back will create better posture and better posture will boost confidence.
OK, So what?
These are just a couple of reasons why you should exercise the muscles of the back. Muscular imbalances are all too common in moms, office workers, weight lifters, and really just about everyone else. Due to normal activity that the body takes on daily, it can cause muscle imbalance, and as listed above, these are reasons to exercise your back.
You may feel like you just want to grab a coke, lie on the couch and rest your back pain away. However, exercising the back will decrease your chance of future injury and will relieve your back pain better than being sedentary. Although, that's not to say you can't still enjoy a Coke.
Like we mentioned in our previous blog post, exercise can help manage and significantly reduce upper and lower back pain. Most of us are going to experience back pain at some point in our lives, so knowing these few simple exercises will help you to relieve your back pain. Exercising the muscles of the back will take the pressure off the spine and keep the back nice and healthy.
These exercises will strengthen the muscles of the back and help support the spine. According to NINDS, exercises that strengthen back muscles may be the most effective way to relieve upper and lower back pain.
As a word of caution, ask your health care professional what exercises will be good for you. Depending on the severity of your pain, some exercises may not be recommended for you.
5 Back Exercises You Can do at Home
1. Swan Dive (or Superman or Superwoman)
This exercise will strengthen your lower back muscles. The lower back muscles will be aiding in lifting your head and legs off the ground.
- Lie face down on the ground, arms stretched overhead and legs straight
- Slowly lift your arms, head, chest, and legs at the same time about 4-6 inches off the ground
- Hold for 3 seconds and relax
- Repeat 15 times
**TO MODIFY try a press-up back extension
- Lie on your stomach and bring your forearms under your chest.
- Push with your hands so your shoulders begin to lift off the floor.
You will feel your lower back muscles working. This is essentially the same exercise as the one above but modified. Having the use of your arms to help lift you up will help if needed.
Yes, crunches will help you get that rock-solid six-pack, but doing crunches will also help strengthen your lower back muscles. Not only will it help strengthen your lower back muscles, but BONUS, a strong core will help back pain.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Place your hands behind your neck or cross them over your chest
- Tighten your stomach muscles and raise your shoulders off the ground
- Slowly lower your head and shoulders back to the ground
- Repeat 20 times
3. Hip raises
Targeting your hamstrings, lower and upper back, and abdomen. Hip raises will help with a strong mid-line that will decrease the stress that is placed on the lower back.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Place your arms to your side and relax your head and shoulders
- Raise your hips to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders
- Hold this position for 3 seconds and relax
- Repeat exercise 15 times
The Mayo Clinic recommends repeating this lower back flexibility exercise five times daily.
4. Opposite arm and leg reach
This exercise will target the muscles all along the back and down the legs.
- Start on all fours
- Reach your right arm forward, and at the same time stretch your left leg back and flex your foot
- Hold this position for 5 seconds. Feel the burn!
- Relax and repeat for the other side
- Do this exercise 15 times on each side
5. Strength training
Physical therapists have encouraged this for years. Traditional resistance training and weight training will improve strength in all the muscles and help create balance in your body. If done properly increasing the muscle strength can stabilize the entire body.
So try these STRENGTH TRAINING exercises!
Bent-Over lightweight row
- With light weights in each hand (if you’re at home with no access to weights, fill a couple of grocery sacks)
- Bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist. Keep your head up
- Stretch your arms in front of you with palms facing down
- While keeping your torso still, breathe out and bring the weight to your chest. Keep the elbows close to your body
- Inhale and slowly lower the weight
- Repeat 12 times
-Start with working one arm at a time.
Leg Raises with the Chirp Wheel
- Sit on the ground and place the wheel in the middle of your back
- Roll back on the wheel and lower your shoulders to the floor
- With your upper back resting on the ground raise your legs towards the ceiling
- Lower your legs as far as you can without touching the ground and slowly bring them back up to the ceiling
The more controlled the lowering and raising of your legs, the more your back and abdomen will engage. This exercise will not only strengthen your core, but it will also strengthen your back muscles as you are using them to lower and lift the legs.
Many are hesitant to exercise when they are in pain, but it is going to benefit you in lots of ways. But use these back exercises that we have given you here and get the best back pain relief with the Chirp Wheel! Use it to roll out the tight muscles in your back and also to exercise the muscles of the back to relieve back pain.
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