What Lower Back Exercises Should I Do?
Poor endurance in your core muscles leaves you unable to maintain good sitting and standing postures for extended periods, failure to hold ideal positioning and falling into positions of poor posture increasing the stress on your spine and is a precursor to pain and injury. When training your back and doing lower back exercises it is crucial to ‘yes’ increase strength in your back but not only this it is about training your core muscles to maintain this strength and posture control over long periods of time. Your back has to work to support you all day every day, whatever you are doing and whatever position you are in, 3X10 reps with big breaks in-between each set may not build you this endurance, strength ‘yes’ but the ability to hold you and your spine in safe neutral postures for extended periods, ‘no’.
Increasing the endurance of deep back and abdominal muscles with the intention of increasing spinal stability and optimal positional awareness will in many circumstances ultimately reduce low back pain.
What Positions Should I Avoid With My Lower Back Exercises?
Ideally you want to keep your back in its neutral alignment, the position you imagine your back would be in when you are standing upright with good posture. When exercising and specifically when adding load to your training with weights you should endeavor to avoid being either fully flexed forward, bent forward when sitting like the letter C or stooped forward in standing similar to when ironing or brushing your teeth as all these positions place more stress on your spine and specifically your discs.
Squats And Deadlifts
Many may consider squats and deadlifts to be dangerous exercises for the lower back. ‘Yes’ heavy load with these exercises especially done with poor form will most likely lead to injury sooner or later. But ultimately squats and deallifts are great exercises for neuromuscular training of your body to learn correct bending and lifting technique whilst maintaining your spines neutral lumbar posture. They are functional exercises reinforcing correct lifting technique focusing on maintaining neutral posture throughout the movement and fantastic at strengthening your big prime movers as well as the deep stabilisers of your spine.
Muscles Don’t Recognise Holidays
If you are starting out doing squats and deadlifts for the first time then you should always have a personal trainer, physiotherapist or like qualified practitioner assess your form. As a home exercise controlled unweighted deadlifts and squats can be worked into a program with your other isolated deep abdominal and core exercises. I would suggest doing them as a circuit leaving little break between exercises as to add to the endurance training aspect of the session.
Lower back exercises could be done every day if you can incorporate this into your ‘life routine’ as endurance comes with both training frequency as well as how you train throughout each individual session. Some potential options and variations if you aren’t quite ready for squats and deadlifts just yet could include exercises like wall sits, Swiss ball wall squats, bridging, Swiss ball bridging exercises. These exercises use similar muscle activation as squats and deadlifts and can be worked on with the intention of progressing or simply as a variation on one of your training days.
When Should I Do My Lower Back Exercises?
Due to in the morning your intervertebral discs are ‘full’ these fully hydrated discs are larger, less flexible and somewhat of a ticking time bomb first thing in the morning after a night of rest. There is more stress on the disc being fully hydrated in the morning meaning my personal preference for safer training including lower back exercises is to do your training later in the day when your discs are a bit less hydrated, more pliable and hopefully at less risk of being injured.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance on Lower Back Exercises should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, general practitioner or physiotherapist.