It’s safe to say we have all experienced some level of back pain at some point in our lives. If left untreated, back pain can worsen and reduce your mobility and quality of life. Oftentimes, back pain is related to weakness within the core muscles—those abdominal and back muscles that wrap around and support the torso and spine.
Today, I want to share with you a few exercises and stretches that can help strengthen your core and support your spine.
It is vitally important that you discuss any new exercise routine with your doctor, particularly if you are suffering from back pain.
This simple yet effective Pilates move engages the core muscles and strengthens the spine’s support system.
Lay on your back with a neutral spine position. Your back muscles should be relaxed, you should have a natural curve in your spine, and your legs should be bent with feet flat on the floor.
Take a deep breath then, as you exhale, tilt your pelvis toward your chin so the curve of your back gently flattens, or “imprints”, into the floor.
Take another deep breath then, as you exhale, slowly roll your pelvis back down moving one vertebra at a time, until you return to your neutral position. Repeat 5 – 10 times.
This classic yoga pose is wonderful for loosening up the muscles of the back and shoulders.
Get on all fours with your wrists lined up under your shoulders and knees hip width apart and lined up under your hips. Your back should be in a flat tabletop position.
As you inhale, gently raise your gaze upward, allowing your belly to pull toward the floor. Maintain straight arms the entire time.
As you exhale, lower your gaze and draw your chin to your chest. Pull your navel in and round your back upward toward the ceiling.
Continue to transition from cat (rounded back) to cow (sway back) with each inhale and exhale for one minute.
The classic plank exercise is perfect for strengthening the muscles that hold a neutral spine in correct position.
Lie face down on the floor as if you are preparing to do a push up. Place your hands under your shoulders.
Push through your hands and raise your body until your arms are straight and you have a straight line from your shoulders to your feet (your hips should not dip down or raise up).
Keep your gaze down as you take engage your abdominals and hold the position, breathing steadily.
Begin by holding the pose for 15 seconds and slowly work your way up to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 or 3 times. (If being on your hands is too difficult, you may lower onto your elbows, keeping them stacked under your shoulders and maintaining a straight line from head to feet.
It doesn’t take hours of practice to improve the health of your core muscles and back. With as little as 15 minutes of exercise each day, you can see a dramatic improvement in your strength and flexibility.
Here’s to building beautiful back strength!