People often complain about back pains after working the whole day in front of their computer screen. And as days, months and even years pass, the pain becomes chronic if left unattended. Why does this happen? It’s all because of a group of muscles that have been ignored by work and the lack or absence of exercise. Backaches will affect not only one’s health but also his posture. Aesthetically speaking, those with right posture would look much better in suits and strapless dresses. The only way out of back pains are exercises that would strengthen the back muscles that will maintain proper movement and prevent back injuries.
The back muscles are involved in almost all the movements people make each day, from simple bending just to tie one’s laces to carrying out heavy loads. In cases of lifting loads, the lower back is almost always the victim, especially for people who don’t make any efforts to strengthen the back muscles. Back pains can also be caused by immobility. One may think that desk jobs can spare him from back pains. That, of course, is a misconception. Most of us have experienced back pains when we sit for many hours. Such habits will cause back strain as well as disc pressure.
Exercising the posterior is as important. Don’t spend too much time sitting or being in a state of immobility. Get up and walk around every hour if the work involves sitting down a lot. Or better still, a person can do some fundamental exercises that can strengthen his back muscles. The best part is that these exercises need heavy weights or gym equipment.
This exercise will build strength and endurance to the core muscles. It will protect the lower back and keep it stable when engaging in activities that will require hip and back movements.
- Lie on the side, either the right or the left. Be sure the body is in a straight line, with the elbow directly under your shoulder.
- Now gently contract the abs muscles, then lift the hips off the floor and maintain the line. Keep the hips square and the neck in-line with the spine.
- Hold the position for about half a minute then gently lower to the starting position.
- Repeat the routine two to three times, alternating sides.
Backward Snow Angels
- Lie on the floor, face down. Arms on the sides with the palms facing down.
- Lift the hands and shoulders come inches off the ground. Do this by pinching the shoulder blades together. This will engage the lateral and rhomboid muscles in the mid-back.
- While facing down and in controlled and slow motion, raise the arms past the shoulders, all the way to the ears until the thumbs are directly above the head.
- Slowly and still in controlled movements, bring the arms down to the original position. To have the best results, keep the arms Also, keep the elbows locked throughout the movement. This will engage your lateral muscles and shoulders.
- Make three sets of five repetitions each. Rest for a minute for each set.
The exercise will improve whole-body control which is important in protecting the spinal column during walking, running or climbing. This will also tone surface and deeper stabilizing muscles along the body’s sides like the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.
- Gently contract the abs and rest the hands on the hips. Take one big step forward with either foot.
- From such position, sink down until the knee is at a 90-degree angle. Then push back to the first position without pausing.
- Make about 10 lunges, then switch legs and repeat the same routine.
- On a bench, position face down. The hip’s crease should be at the bench’s end. This will allow the feet to rest on the ground while the hands are firmly engaged on the bench’s underside for support.
- Next, straighten out the legs while slowly raising them. This will engage several muscles including the glutes, abdominals, hips, and the spinal erectors of the lower back. Be sure the toes are pointing away from the body and that they should be above the head level at the top of the movement.
- Hold the position for around 10-15 seconds before slowly lowering the legs to the original position.
- Repeat the movement five times.
Planks are an excellent way to strengthen the core muscles as well as those in the lower back.
- Lie on the floor, face down. Tuck the toes on the ground and place the elbows on the ground on the sides of the body.
- Tighten the stomach muscles then slowly lift the body off the floor. Hold that elevated position. Throughout the exercise, keep the core muscles tight, and the bottom should be lifted at shoulder height to avoid any strains on the lower back.
- Hold that position for about ten seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement five times.
- Lie on the floor, face down. Ankles must touch each other while the toes are pointing underneath.
- Now reach both hands straight out and above the shoulders, pulling the body come inches off the ground.
- Legs and arms must be fully-contracted so that they are elevated at the same height. Hold this static position while completely engaging the entire body like Superman in flight.
- Repeat the routine three times with static holds between a quarter to half a minute. Rest for about a minute after each set.
Chair Crunch for the Abdomen
The exercise will strengthen the core muscles which can reduce back pain.
- For this exercise, one will need a chair. Lie on the back with the legs resting on the chair. Place the fingers behind the head then lift the chin up towards the ceiling. Focus on the ceiling.
- Now tighten the abdominal muscles then use same muscles to lift the shoulders off the floor gradually. This allows the stomach muscles to crunch and the core muscles to contract. Now, slowly lower the shoulders back to the first position.
- Repeat ten times, for three sets.
Good Morning Bow
- Stand straight with hands on hips. The distance of feet must be a bit wider than hips and make sure feet are planted firmly on the floor.
- Now begin the movement by engaging the core. Push down on the ribs then pull the shoulders back slightly with the neck in neutral position.
- Slowly and in a controlled manner, bend forward at the waist. Keep shoulders in-line with hips.
- Make sure the glutes, hamstrings, and back are all engaged during the whole exercise. Continue bending forward until parallel to the floor.
- Slowly go back to the first position then repeat the movement.
- When doing the exercise, avoid making the back rounded because this will result in losing the spine’s neutral position.
- Do three sets of 12-15 reps for each set. Pause for about a minute to rest between the sets.
This simple exercise is for strengthening the core muscles, the buttocks, and the lower back.
- Lie on the back, knees bent, arms flat on the floor on each side.
- Rotate the pelvis and tailbone down, tighten the core muscles and push the lower back into the floor.
- Hold this position, slowly lift the middle body off the ground and using the arms, legs, and shoulders for balance.
- Hold the position for about 10-15 seconds before slowly lowering down to the original position. Relax the core muscles before repeating the cycle.
Toes & Nose Against a Wall
Here is a more challenging exercise that needs some caution, even for gym buffs. This is more for the experienced but neophytes, can also give it a try.
- Start with the position for push-ups but with the feet are against a wall.
- Next, start walking the feet up the wall but keep the core muscles tight, the hips flexed, and the spine neutral.
- The palms should be placed on the floor firmly just shoulder-width apart. Now start inching the hands towards the wall.
- Reach the top position when the toes and nose touch the wall while the hands remain firm on the floor and the core form a body position that’s hollow.
- Once completed, safely return to the original position by walking the hands away from the wall then bringing the feet down the wall slowly and using controlled movements.
- Do three repetitions with a 20-30 second hold. Rest for about a minute between each repetition.
Kneel & Extend
- This exercise starts by kneeling on all fours with the hands beneath the shoulders and the knees directly below the hips.
- Tighten those core muscles, then slowly lift the right arm and extend it forward as far as possible.
- Slowly lift the left leg and extend it straight back with toes pointed down. Hold the position for ten seconds then slowly return to the starting position.
- Next, do the opposite move, extending the left arm forward and extending the right food back.
- Repeat three times for each side.
Bridge with the Hips
This exercise is ideal for people who spend too much time sitting down on chairs as such practice can put excessive pressure on the spine. The exercises stretch the flexor muscles and strengthen those muscles that stabilize the spine. These muscles include the lower back, the large abdominals, and the glutes.
- Lie on the back, feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Relax the arms and bend the knees.
- Squeeze the buttocks, then slowly lift the hips. The top of the exercise would have the body making a straight line from shoulders to the knees. Hold that position for a count of two. Slowly return to the starting position.
- Do 12 to 15 repetitions.
- Lie down on the mat, face down with the arms stretched overhead. Point the toes, then lift the legs and arms a few inches above the mat.
- Hold the position for 1-2 counts. Imagine that the legs are being pulled away from the hips.
- Circle the arms out on the side and behind. Exhale and try to reach the arms towards the toes with the palms facing inward.
- Hold the position for 1-2 counts, then bring the arms back to the starting position.
- Relax the whole body to the mat and do 6-8 reps.
Bird & Dog
The exercise can help in the improvement of coordination and muscle balance. It will make it easier to keep the spine stable when the body is involved in movement activities. Furthermore, the exercise will tone the upper back, hamstrings, lower spine, and glutes. When the abs are tight, the spine is better supported.
- Get down on all fours with the knees apart (hip-width) and the hands apart (shoulder-width) and flat on the floor.
- Next, squeeze the abs muscles by pulling the belly towards the spine. Make sure the spine is neutral.
- Without moving the hips or arching the back, extend the left leg back and the right arm forward and straight.
- Hold that position for a few seconds or for as long as one can hold without compromising form.
- Repeat the routine 5 times each side.
Opposite Leg & Arm Stretch
- Again, start on all fours. Simultaneously reach the right arm forward and stretch the left leg back. Flex the foot.
- Hold the position for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat the routine with the left arm and the right leg.
- Do 12-15 reps per side.
The Benefits of Back-Strengthening Workouts
Don’t underestimate the back, both aesthetically and physiologically. One may not be able to view it, but a healthy back will give good posture and prevent the occurrences of discomfort and back pain. Back exercises will create a sculptured back that would make one look good from the front and from behind. Here are some benefits of having a strong and healthy back.
Aesthetic benefit. Bodybuilders are aware of the back-muscle’s importance, not only because they are part of the competition but because they are essential for both posture and health. There should be a balance between the front and back muscles. That quest for that V-shaped torso involves exercising the back muscles too.
Exercising the back muscles can prevent neck, shoulder, and back pain conditions. Ignoring to work them out could result in rounded shoulders, and this is the cause of all those pains. Rounded shoulders could also make one look like a person who lacks confidence.
Structural necessity. People with weak lower and middle back muscles may experience back pains. The muscles involved should be given enough exercise attention to prevent pain from happening. Healthy back muscles can make the movement more stable and safer, and one can engage in activities without the fear of pain.
Balanced body. For a greater physique and self-confidence, exercise not just the front but the back muscles as well. This would create a balance that would allow one to function more effectively. Ignoring either would consequently result in developing muscle imbalance, and this can only result in injury.