Good Exercises for Lower back pain
Chiropractors, belts, shoe inserts, hanging upside down on inversion tables... these days, people will try just about anything to prevent and treat lower back pain. But it turns out that the magic elixir may actually be quite simple: exercise. In a recent review of medical literature published online by JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers combed through studies, trials, and reports to determine what really works when it comes to warding off the debilitating issue. The consensus: regular exercise. Regular is a keyword here: "for exercise to remain protective against future [lower back pain], it is likely that ongoing exercise is required, " the study states. Good news for fit guys already hitting the gym pretty regularly. But even if that's you, you can decrease your odds of pain even further by focusing on specific moves that really shore up your back. Click through for the best exercises for preventing and alleviating lower back pain, courtesy of Joey Percia, MS, CPPS, CSCS, Weside Barbell Coach and a Lifestyle and Performance Coach at Soho Strength Lab in New York City.
You can work these moves in to your regular workouts or complete them all together as one workout. Here's a sample workout you could try:
Dynamic Warm-up concluded with hip thrust with band around the knees 3x15 reps
1a) Goblet Squat 3 x 8 reps
1b) Half kneeling hip flexor stretch 3 x 30 seconds/side
2a) Kettlebell RDL 3 x 8 reps
2b) Lying straight leg iron cross 3 x 12 /side
2c) Anti Rotation press 3 x 12 reps /side
3a) Goblet Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 12 reps/side
3b) Plank with reach 3 x 6 /side
4a) Suitcase deadlift 3 x 8 reps/side
4b) Prisoner back extension 3 x 10 reps
Lying Straight Leg Iron Cross
Why It Helps: "The straight leg iron cross is a great mobility exercise to release tension in the legs, back, and glutes, " says Percia. "A lot of lower back pain can stem from these muscles being weak or tight. The straight leg iron cross will help relieve that."
Directions: Start lying flat on your back with both legs straight. Lift one leg back towards you and making sure to keep the knee straight. From this position, bring the leg that is in the air, across your body and down towards the ground. You will most likely feel the stretch along the outer side of your leg and possibly behind the knee. In this position take a deep breathe and try to relax. Keeping the knee straight bring your leg back across your body and straight up to the ceiling.
Prescription: 3x12 reps each side every day.
Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Why It Helps: "The half kneeling hip flexor stretch is one of the keys to unlocking a tight lower back, " explains Percia. "The hip flexor become tight from being in a constant shortening position from sitting."
Directions: Start with one knee down on a pad and other leg bent with the foot flat on the floor. Stay in a tall position with your back straight. From here squeeze the butt cheek of the knee that is down and try to push your hip to the wall in front of you. You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip and maybe even down your quad depending how tight you are. Be sure to keep your back straight and DO NOT arch from your lower back when pushing your hip forward. It may help if you think of performing a mini crunch when you do this to bring your ribs down and make the exercise even more effective.
Prescription: 3 x 30 second holds on each side every day.
Anti-Rotation Press aka Pallof Press
Why It Helps: "The anti-rotation press or ‘pallof press’ is an exercise which will strengthen the key players and bulletproof your core, " says Percia. "The weight will try and twist your body but you will use your legs, butt, oblique, abs and back to resist."
Directions: Start in an ‘athletic stance’ like a linebacker, with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Grab the cable or band and position yourself at a 90 degree angle. From here you will brace your core and bring the cable to your chest. Keeping your core tight, reach the cable straight away from your body until your arms are fully extended. Pause for 1-2 seconds and return back under control. At no point in the movement should the weight be pulling you off balance or move you at all. Your core should be braced tight and strong the entire time.
Prescription: 3 x 12 reps on each side.
Why It Helps: "The Kettlebell RDL deadlift is a safer way to train the traditional deadlift but with less stress your lower back, " says Percia. "This version with keep the majority of the weight closer to your body which is a safer position. This will also strengthen the lower back, hamstrings, glutes and abs which are all major players to a healthy back."
Directions: Set up with the kettlebell directly under you and take a wide stance with your toes slightly pointing out. While keeping your back straight and core tight, lower yourself down to the kettle bell and grab it with a tight grip. Keeping your abs and back tight, smoothly lift the weight off the floor by ‘leg pressing’ the floor away from you. Finish the movement by squeezing your butt at the top not leaning back and arching your lower back. Return to the floor under control and make sure to keep your back straight.
Prescription: 3 x 8 reps.
Why It Helps: "The goblet squat is a squat variation that will really strengthen your upper back and core while keeping your back safe, " says Percia.
Directions: Set up with you feet around hip- to shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly out. With a straight back crouch down to pick up the weight. Hold the dumbbell or kettlebell at chest height with your elbows pointing down towards the ground (not out to the sides). You should really feel your upper back working. Start the movement by pushing your hips behind you and bending your knees at the same time. Go as low as your body will allow as long as you keep a straight back. Reverse the movement by pushing your feet through the floor.
Prisoner Back Extensions
Why It Helps: "The prisoner back extension is a back exercise that strengthens the entire back, " says Percia.