This weeks article is a part two about helping to prevent and decrease back pain. Last week I wrote an article on my top 8 mobility exercises for the hips. A lot of times our back will feel pain because our hips are tight and therefore our back has to do more work to help compensate. Our backs can also feel pain if we are not activating the muscles surrounding our hips properly. These are my go to safe exercises that you can incorporate into your routine or do daily to help bullet proof your back.
- Plank – Make sure your hips are level (no sagging or higher than the shoulders.) Pull your belly up towards your spine and squeeze your glutes and thighs tightly together. If this burns after 15 seconds you are doing it right! Try to increase your time past 60s up to 2 min.
- Bird Dog – Start in a table top position with your arms under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Exhale and extend your opposite arm and leg while bracing your core. Inhale to return your arm and leg back to the starting position.
3. Dead Bug – Lay on your back arms extended above you, hips and knees bent at a 90 degree angle. As you exhale, extend the opposite arm and leg without your lower back coming off the floor. Inhale to return your limbs back to the starting position.
4. Bridges (Hip Extensions) – This is one of my favourite exercises. It is so important to know how to engage your glutes without your lower back getting involved. Begin by lying on your back, feet flat and hip width apart. Keep your arms out by your sides and pull your ribs down into the floor. Exhale and press your feet into the floor extended your hips into the air. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Make sure your lower back does not engage at this point. Keep your core tight and start to bring your bum back to the floor inhale at the bottom.
5. Side Plank – Lay on your side with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder. Stay in a straight line from your head to your hips. Stack your hips and knees and place knees bent at 90 degrees behind you. As you exhale press your forearm and knees into the floor lifting your body off the ground. Squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward to keep your core engaged. Try to hold for a minimum of 15 seconds and build to 90seconds.
6. Squats – One of the most important core exercises. Why? Because you need to be able to keep your abdominal muscles contracted to protect your back. You also need to keep your shoulders down (stabilizers) and your hips need to contract in the standing position so you can continue protecting your spine. This is how you lift things without using your back to assist you. Begin by having your feet hip width a part. Some of you might have tight hips and if it is hard to get into a chair without your knees buckling inwards, turn your toes slightly outwards. Keeping your abdominals tight, take an inhale and start to sit your hips back behind you keeping your chest up. The goal is to eventually get your bum below parallel. I will have an article on ways you can do this soon. At the bottom of the squat, press your feet into the floor to continue keeping your core tight and extend the knees and hips. At the top of the movement squeeze that booty and exhale to keep your abdominals contracting.
Those are my top 6 core moves you can do anywhere and will help keep your posture in check and firing properly to prevent you from using your back in your daily life to lift or move things.
Please comment below with any questions. Feel free to share with someone you know would benefit from this!
xoxo your trainer,