Many people suffer from lower back discomfort. A herniated lumbar disc is one of the most prevalent issues when the shock-absorbing gel in the intervertebral disc pushes out through a break in its surrounding fibrous ring. This can put pressure on neighboring nerves, resulting in discomfort. If you rest for a while, this problem generally goes away on its own. However, the pain typically becomes persistent and must be treated using exercise, yoga, or strength training at a trusted gym such as M Fitness in Chino.
Abdominal muscles that are weak and push against the spine can cause it to curve inwards, which is why lower back discomfort occurs. That's why doctors recommend abdominal exercises to improve these core muscles. Bending your hips and spine backward while stretching can also be beneficial.
Stretching or light weights are generally recommended by MPower Fitness Coaching trainers as your first low-impact exercises. That way, you won't make the problem worse if you overwork yourself. Stretching can also be highly beneficial for your back. Regularly performing these activities with supervision at M Fitness in Chino will help to strengthen your back and improve how you feel.
The Four Core Muscles of the Back
Let's focus on strengthening the four core muscles in the back:
- Trapezius: This muscle runs from the base of your neck and along your spine to the top of your hips.
- Erector Spinae: This muscle runs down either side of the spine and aids in proper posture.
- The multifidus: These muscles traverse numerous vertebrae and aid in the maintenance of strong and stable back muscles.
- Rotators: These are strong muscles that support your back while you're standing up and balanced.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back
Lying extension exercises strengthen the lower back. Lie down on your stomach with a rolled-up towel under your ankles. Reach one arm forward, keeping it straight, and the other arm behind your head. Lift your head and chest off the floor, but don't push against the floor with your arms or hands. For an increased challenge, place a pillow under your hips and contract your abdominals.
This exercise strengthens lower back muscles by requiring them to keep you from falling forward as you lie on one side of your body. Lie on your side with legs bent and a pillow between them to support your head. Place one hand behind you, letting it lie flat on the floor as you bend the elbow of that arm at a 90-degree angle. Use your other hand to gently push against the cheek of that same side as if trying to rotate that side of your body away from the floor.
Pull-ups strengthen your back, biceps, and forearms. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, at about shoulder's width apart. Use your legs to get yourself up by bending your knees, so they rest against the wall or closed door behind you. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Lower yourself down slowly to feel the stretch in your back and arms, then pull yourself up again. If you're not up for a full pull-up just yet, start by holding your body with your arms extended straight out at shoulder level, keeping your abs tight as you hold this position for 20 seconds before releasing.
This exercise strengthens the lower back and legs.
Sit on a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Bend forward from your hips, reaching toward your toes as you extend your arms below you. Keep your back straight by squeezing it tight as if preparing to take a punch. You should feel this in your lower back. Hold this position for three counts, then slowly release to the starting position with a straight back. Repeat as many times as you can at a comfortable level.
Abs Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back
The plank, one of the favorites of our clients at MPower Fitness Coaching, strengthens lower back muscles by requiring them to support your body weight as you hold your legs and torso off the floor.
Start by lying on the floor, face down with your forearms resting on the floor and elbows under your shoulders. Press up onto your toes and lift your torso off the ground, raising your body into a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Hold this position as long as you can without dropping your hips or letting them sag toward the floor. Rest for a few seconds and repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times.
The bicycle maneuver strengthens your oblique muscles, which run along your sides.
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor close to your butt. Place hands behind you or place them under the small of your back if that is more comfortable. Lift your shoulders off the floor, curl your head and neck toward your right knee, then straighten your torso as you rotate to bring your left elbow toward the right knee. Alternate sides with each rotation.
This strengthens the lower back muscles while isolating them better than an ab crunch or regular sit-up because it takes out an extra effort from your hip flexors.
Strengthening these abdominal muscles also helps strengthen the lower back.
Lie on your back and place hands behind your head with elbows pointing out to each side and slightly up toward the ceiling as you raise your upper body off the floor, crunching through your abdominal muscles as you do. Bring both knees into your chest as you slowly lower yourself toward the ground, stopping right before your back touches the floor. Keep feet off the floor as you continue alternating legs with each rep.
Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your back.
Select 8-12 reps of weights that are light enough for you to complete ten sets of three reps at maximum effort, or choose 2-4 reps with heavier weights, so you lift your arms until they're almost too heavy to hold. Keep your abs tight and stand up straight as you raise. Strength training classes are an excellent place for beginners to start if you're new to weight training and want to learn more.
These few simple activities at M Fitness in Chino can aid in the strengthening of your back and improve how you feel, but the most significant thing you can do is look after your entire body.
If you haven't been to the gym in a while, make an appointment with us at MPower Fitness Coaching in Chino, CA, to ensure there aren't any other concerns that need treating.