Death. Taxes. Low Back Pain.
-by Clark Hibbs
These three seem to be the things that are guaranteed in life, especially as we get older.
However, like having a good accountant can make taxes less painful, we can do some things on our own to counteract nagging lower back pain (still trying to figure out how to prevent death. I’ll report back when I have the answer).
Here are 5 tips you can incorporate to reduce your lower back pain.
1) Strengthen your midline
We’ve all heard this one before, right? MORE CORE STRENGTH!
Well, it’s not exactly wrong either. Your core (midline) is comprised of your abdominal muscles, spinal erectors, and a few other small muscle groups like the obliques, transverse abdominals, and even parts of your pelvic floor and lower lats.
Overall, your core is a pretty big part of your upper body, and we need to make sure it’s nice and strong.
Here’s a quick little workout you could do 3-4 times a week before or after class that will seriously strengthen that midline.
3-4 sets of:
12-15 GHD sit ups
12-15 GHD hip extensions
15-20 Russian KB swings
1:00 plank hold
All of these exercises will help strengthen your core if completed consistently each week! If you want to do these at home, you can do the following:
3-4 sets of:
12-15 v-ups or sit ups
15 superman raises (or trunk lifts)
:30 side plank (each side)
The stronger the core, the less pain you’ll find!
2) Brace when exercising
At Yellow Rose, you’ll always hear a coach say something along the lines of, “keep the midline tight” while demoing exercises. When we’re keeping the midline tight (or engaged, or braced), we’re keeping the whole muscle group in a state of controlled tension. That controlled tension is going to not only keep joints and ligaments in the right place/alignment, it’s going to help build more core strength as well!
3) Don’t Skip The Deadlifts
Don’t skip the deadlifts, or the squats, or the cleans, or the… well, ANYTHING. Just because something isn’t a direct exercise for the midline doesn’t mean back and abs aren’t working! These big compound movements are incredibly beneficial for building strength throughout the entire midline. Instead of just isolating the core, you are teaching your body to work together as a whole. When the whole body is working together, it’s much easier to build symmetrical strength throughout the body and avoid any incidental muscular imbalances.
4) Ditch the weight belt
Yep, you read that correctly. Stop strapping on the artificial abs before you lift. That’s exactly what they are… artificial. The reason you feel like you’re in need of a weight belt is because you haven’t truly (and I mean truly) mastered how to brace under tension, especially at heavier loads.
Here’s how you fix it:
Stop trying to lift to an absolute max. Focus that energy into making sure you’re properly braced before every single rep, and you’ll build the strength, intramuscular coordination, and confidence you need to lift without the belt.
Ditch the belt. Build the strength.
5) Ease up on the stretching, put more emphasis on strengthening
Wondering if we were going to talk about what stretches to do, huh? Well, truth is, you don’t need to do any stretching to FIX the nagging back pain. Stretching the low back treats the initial pain, but doesn’t provide an actual fix. The fix is in building the strength!
While nagging back pain may seem like it’s a guarantee in life, it does not have to be. Use the tips to build strength in your core, and enjoy a pain-free life.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!