We Got Your Back
A Few Of Our Favorite Exercises To Protect Your Back From Possible Injury
Back pain can ruin any workout and protecting your back may not be on the top of your mind during a workout session. Most exercises incorporate the collection of about 140 muscles that make up your back even if the movement is not directly targeting it. By including a few simple exercises into your normal routine, you can help protect your back from potential injury.
We start every workout with mobility work. Dynamic warm-ups can improve your mobility and ultimately lead to a more productive exercise session and a healthier body. By improving your mobility, you will reduce your body’s asymmetries and compensations, leading to a more balanced muscle structure. With poor mobility and stability, you will create further dysfunction in your body leading to an increased chance of injury and decreased optimal performance.
For example, if you have trouble touching your toes and you were to deadlift, you may end up using you lower back. This puts stress on your back rather than using your core and glutes for the movement.
To Build a Better Back, Look at Your Core
Studies have shown that that people with weak core muscles have an increased risk of lower back pain. Researchers like Dr. Stuart McGill have advocated teaching your abdominals to resist extension to protect your lower back as your deep core muscles stabilize your entire midsection. When your core is weak, your back is forced to pick up the slack. We like to incorporate anti-extension and anti-rotation movements that will ultimately strengthen the lower spine. An anti-extension movement is a type of movement where you resist extending the lower part of your back while anti-rotational involves keeping your core and spine still while the rest of your body moves.
Give these 3 moves (that are safer than crunches) a try by putting a few sets into your warm up and see how they can build your core and make your back stronger.
Three Exercises You Can Do To Build a Stronger Back
Anti-Rotational Isometric Band Holds
Dead bugs are one of the simplest and most effective core exercises. To prevent your back from arching, you must tighten your abs, which makes the Dead Bug an anti-extension exercise. These also help you to strengthen your transverse abdominis, the deep core muscles that are super important in creating stability in the pelvis.
Lie on your back with your arms extended, knees bent at 90 degrees, calves parallel to the floor. While keeping your lower back in contact with the ground, extend and lower your right leg and bring your left arm up. Then tap your heel to the floor and return to the starting position. Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Do 10 reps on each side.
The plank teaches an athlete how to develop more tension in the core to prevent extension.
Assume a push-up position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position while focusing on keeping your abs and low back muscles tightened to prevent bending at the hips. Hold for 30-45 seconds
If you would like to make this a bit harder, lower yourself onto your elbows. Your elbows should be bent 90 degrees and your forearms on the floor. Your elbows should be underneath your shoulders while you look straight toward the floor.
Anti-Rotational Band Press (Pallof Press)
Anti-rotational moves regularly can help strengthen the muscles that stabilize the spine including the obliques. You are resisting rotation, creating stability in an upright position.
Stand with your feet about hip width apart with knees slightly bent. You should set up a resistance band to be perpendicular to your body at approximately chest height. Grip the band in both hands, with your fingers interlocked and elbows by your sides. While keeping your back straight, press the band forward, hold for 20-30 secs or you can do 3-5 reps of 5-10 sec holds, pulling your arms in and pressing back out. Repeat on the other side.