Back off, back pain! We’ve got some moves to put you to rest. Literally. So many people suffer needlessly with sore backs, tight backs, or other stiff muscles that cause a problem for the back. There are many reasons for having a bad back, but there are also many solutions that cost you nothing and will not only make your back feel better, but your mind and the rest of your body as well. One of those important solutions is exercise. Strengthening the entire core and keeping it stretched will help ease back pain and prevent future injury. Here are the 5 best exercises to work into your current strength routine that will help get you on the path of a healthier, happier body!
1. Full Body Roll-Up
- Strengthens core in a slow, controlled motion.
- Teaches you to articulate your spine.
- Stretches the muscles in the back and legs that cause tightness in the back
A) Lie flat on your back with your arms extended overhead.
B) Inhale arms to the sky, exhale and slowly roll up into a “C” curve reaching for your toes. (Think about threading your belly button to your spine, and activate your transverse abdominus.)
C) Inhale and start to slowly go back in a C curve.
D) Exhale as you uncurl your body one vertebra at a time back into the mat.
Be sure to keep your feet on the ground as you move slowly. Perform 6-8 roll-ups.
2. Bird Dog
- Teaches the body to use core for stability
- Strengthens abs and low back
- Lengthens spinal column/posture
A) Kneel on the mat on all fours. Reach one arm long, draw in the abdominals, and extend the opposite leg long behind you.
B) Repeat on the other side.
Perform 8-10 per side. Move slow and steady, holding arm and leg out momentarily before switching.
3. Forearm Plank
- Strengthens all core muscles
- Engages stabilizers
- Teaches lengthening/posture
A) Begin lying on the floor with your forearms flat on the floor, making sure that your elbows are aligned directly under your shoulders.
B) Engage your core and raise your body up off the floor, keeping your forearms on the floor and your body in a straight line from head to feet. Keep your abdominals engaged and try not to let your hips rise or drop.
Hold forearm plank for 30 seconds to start, trying to progress to a 60-second hold.
- Strengthens back extensors
- Teaches core muscles to grip during movement
- Engages core
A) Lie on your stomach with the legs and arms extended. Engage your abdominals so you feel your transverse abdominis contract.
B) Lift your arms and legs off the floor and keep your nose in a hover above the mat. Flutter your arms and legs, moving from the hips and shoulders (not the knees and elbows) like you are swimming.
The goal is to keep the body stable as the limbs flutter quickly. Try for 30 seconds and work your way up to 60 seconds.
5. Child’s Pose
- Stretches the back
- Promotes relaxation
A) Begin with hands and knees on the mat, knees separated to the outer edges of the mat.
B) Sit your tailbone down and back between your heels and lower your belly between your thighs.
C) Stretch your arms long in front of you and relax your forehead onto the mat. Breathe fully and hold as long as you’d like.
Technically this is a stretch not an exercise, but you don’t want to leave this off your list. The relief feels amazing. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.