Lower back pain? According to WebMD, some of the most common causes of lower back pain include injury or overuse, and pressure on nerve roots caused by conditions such as herniated discs. However, back pain is most common among people with poor posture that are out of shape!
After working in a physical therapy office for over 2 years, I found that the majority of patients with lower back pain had poor posture and a lack of core and overall strength and flexibility. I created programs for them that worked to strengthen the core muscles while also stretching the back and the hamstrings.
Below are 8 basic exercises that I recommend to alleviate and avoid lower back pain. Do this routine 2-3x per week. As with any exercise program, be sure to consult your physician before you begin.
1 — Supine Spinal Twist
Lie supine with legs straight and arms by your sides. Hug right knee into chest and take it across the body to the left. The knee rests on the floor if possible and right arm and head go the the right. Hold 30sec, repeat left side.
2 — Shoulder Bridge
Begin on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the mat hip width apart and arms long by your sides. Inhale to prepare and exhale as you tuck your tailbone under pressing hip bones up towards the ceiling. Inhale to keep hips lifted and exhale as you roll your back onto the mat one vertebrae at a time with the tailbone touching last. Be sure to keep your hands and all 10 toes planted on the mat. Repeat 4x.
Modification: If the full shoulder bridge is too intense for your back, start with a pelvic tilt where you tuck your tailbone under and then lower it to the mat. Repeat 5-10x.
3 — Abdominal Curl
Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the mat hip width apart. Interlace fingers behind your head, keeping your neck relaxed, and the elbows opening wide to the sides. From your abdominals, curl your head and shoulders off of the mat, keeping the tailbone anchored and pelvis neutral. Hold for 2 breaths then lower back onto the mat. Repeat 4-8x. Hug your knees into your chest to finish.
4 — Half Roll Down
Start seated with knees bent, feet flat on the mat hip width apart, hands hooked under backs of knees, back rounded and forehead towards knees. Inhale to lean back until the arms extend. Exhale to hold, pulling naval into spine. Inhale and continue to hold the position. Exhale to lift up keeping your back round and forehead towards your knees. Repeat 4x.
5 — Cat Cow
Begin on all fours, hands placed directly under shoulders with straight arms, knees directly under the hips. Inhale as you arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling. Exhale to round the back, tucking the chin to chest and tailbone under. Repeat 4x.
6 — Balancing Table
Begin on all fours, hands and knees. Extend right arm forward and left leg back, keeping the arm and leg parallel to the floor. Hold 2-3 breaths then change to left arm forward and right leg back. Be sure to keep back flat, abdominals engaged by pulling your low belly in, and your hips and chest square to the mat. Repeat 3x each side.
7 — Downward Facing Dog
Begin on all fours, hands and knees. Tuck toes under and lift hips up towards the ceiling, straightening the legs. Push your chest towards your thighs and heels back into the mat keeping your arms straight. Hold for 5 breaths then lower knees to the mat and rest in a child’s pose.
8 — Child’s Pose
Begin on all fours, hands and knees. Open knees wide and sit back onto your heels, lowering your forehead to the mat and arms reaching long on the mat next to your ears. Hold 30sec.
Modification: If sitting back onto your heels is uncomfortable for your knees, place a blanket or pillow behind the backs of your knees for support.
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Questions about this routine? Ask them in the comment section and I will answer.
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