Today I will talk about the well-known problem of having constant pain in the lower back.
Lower back pain occurs through interconnection and overlapping of TENDONS and MUSCLES, and NERVES and NERVE ROOTS that travel to the feet from the lower back. Also, lower back pain can occur due to interconnection of both small and complex joints and also spinal discs.
Lower back pain can cause severe muscle spasms or even worse, it can be chronic. This problem can be also caused by taking a hit in the lower back (for example, during sport game as basketball, handball etc.), during lifting weights in the gym or even through any other physical activity.
I personally have friends that are facing chronic lower back pain that transfers from the lower back to the legs and feet. This problem is known as sciatica.
After many therapies, medications and all other treatments one of them come with a conclusion.
“I started stretching on a daily basis and gradually started implementing exercise that increased my strength in the lower back. One doctor said that I have a NERVE – DISC interconnection problem. That actually caused the pain to occur in my lower back. The doctor said that by stretching I’m preventing the possible NERVE-DISC connection which will result in pain occurrence. After my stretching routines, I was doing a couple of bodyweight exercises with the slowest tempo possible. If there was a sign of pain, I was stopping immediately and continued the day after. I was doing this for 5 months. Now I’m playing professional basketball and lift 170 kg on the regular deadlift.”
First of all I will start with the stretching section. I will mention a couple of exercises that you will do on a daily basis, right after you wake up in the morning, and before bed.
These stretches will focus on stretching the muscles of the hips (especially glutes), hamstrings and lower back.
Half Lord of the Fish
Lumbar Twist Pose
Single Knee to Chest Hug
Double Knee Chest Hug
Leg stretch with a Strap
Figure 4 stretch
All these exercises are to be done gently, without forcing. If you notice any discomfort while you are doing these exercises, stop immediately. Focus on doing more than 10 seconds stretches for couple of sets. Make sure you stretch the both sides in those exercises that are single leg/side stretches.
Now let me proceed to the most important and forgotten method of strengthening the lower back.
Lower back strength = Injury free
I start from this formula. Those people who are limited in their physical activity are actually having a problem with each and every body part, due to their weak development.
You have seen athletes go through horrible injuries and yet they come back and play again.
You think that having torn cartilage in your knee is weaker injury than the lower back injury? You are wrong. For both injuries real treatment method, strength training program and patience is needed.
Top 5 bodyweight exercises to strengthen your lower back
Let’s look at the top 5 bodyweight exercises you can do that will strengthen your lower back and will release the feeling of pain.
This exercise is to be done on a machine like in the picture below. If you don’t have access to this machine than you can improvise by asking someone to hold your legs while you are lifting your upper body. NOTE: Keep your arms on your head.
Like all other exercises, this one needs to be done in slow tempo. Again, if you feel any discomfort stop immediately.
For me the best exercise that targets the whole body is the regular plank.
By doing planks you are strengthening each and every little muscle in your body. I’m mentioning this exercise because it is great for strengthening the muscle of the lower back too. Start by holding 20 seconds and gradually increase the time. Don’t force, the key is to know when is the right time to stop.
Superman Lifts Is the most advanced exercise of these 5 along with the plank.
This exercise can be done both in isometric and dynamic way. I really do suggest that you first start with doing accessory exercises for this one. An example is the exercise bellow known as “Lower Back Extension – Leg Lifts”. Also if you have chronic problem it is suggested to start from lifting 1 hand and 1 leg separately, that will also work your lower back and upper back muscles.
Lower Back Extension – Leg Lifts
This exercise is an accessory one for the superman exercise that I mentioned above.
The Lower Back Leg lifts targets all muscles from which the lower back and lower body is consisted. Starting from the hip muscles (glutes), then hamstrings and the most important part the deep pelvic muscles this exercise will strengthen your lower back like no other exercise will.
Lift and lower slowly. If you want to, you can hold the top position for 1 or 2 seconds before lowering your legs back to start.
As I mentioned in the superman exercise you can start with lifting only one leg and progress to this 2 leg variation.
Bridging is the forgotten method of developing strong and healthy lower back and healthy spine.
Lift your butt from the ground like in the picture bellow, and hold that position for 2 seconds. Than lower back down, and lift again. This move should be done as slow as possible, that will prevent you from possible injury and unwanted activation of the irritated nerves.
By combining these stretches and strengthening exercises you will see tremendous improvements on your goal of releasing yourself from those long lasting lower back problems.
Do every exercise as slow as possible. Don’t force! Start by doing no more than 8-10 repetitions and gradually add sets and increase the reps.
STRETCH A LOT. But again, DON’T FORCE.
Do the stretches as much as you can, it is suggested to do them in the morning and in the evening, but if you can do more, than DO IT!
About the strengthening exercises it is recommended to be done once in a day for no more than 15-20 minutes for start.
TRAIN HARD, TRAIN SMART, EAT HEALTHY!