Getting ‘Back’ to Basics

images (2)Back pain is one of the main complaints from people who live in chronic pain and it’s also one of the most common areas people injure when they overdo it in a workout. If you’ve ever lived with the pain of a bad back, you know how all-consuming it can be. And if you’ve ever pulled a back muscle that left you on the sidelines and unable to work out for a while, you understand well just how important it is to develop a strong back. Your back muscles work with your abs to form your core which gives you strength and keeps you from being injured during weight lifting and other workouts.

 

Lunges

Lunges are a fast and simple way to strengthen both your abs and back to help build up all of the muscles in your core. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and step forward with your right foot and lunge down with your left leg while bending your right leg until your knee is at a 90-degree angle, being careful not to lunge too far and hurt your knee. Hold your abs in tight before stepping back out of the lunge and repeating the action with your left leg.

 

Side Plank

The side plank is all about holding your back muscles and abs tight for balance, which helps them grow strong. Lie on your side, resting on your elbow and forearm. Squeeze your abs tight and lift your hips up off the floor. Be sure to keep your hips square and don’t let your body rotate forward or backward. Hold this position for about 20 seconds before lowering your hips back to the floor. Repeat on the other side and continue this exercise to help strengthen and protect your lower back.

 

Hip Bridge

Another variation on lifting the hips is to do so from a position of lying on your back, instead of on your side. This exercise is regularly used by physical therapists to help build strength in the back. Lie on your back and place your feet flat on the ground. Push up and lift your hips with your buttocks and abs squeezed tight. Keep your arms on the floor on either side of you to keep yourself stable. Once your hips are in the air, push them up a bit further in a pulsing pattern while you hold your abs tight.

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