The most common cause of back pain is caused by inactivity, so it makes sense to rev up your fitness programme to deal with your sore back. But while pushing weights or hitting the road may drag you away from your desk (or the couch), they may actually make your back condition worse.
‘A lot of time during the day is spent in a seated position, causing an inactivity of core- and abdominal muscles, while muscular-skeletal structures of the lower back, upper back and neck area are overburdened. Some of the most common consequences of this are a weakening of core muscles, the inwards rotation of shoulders and neck stiffness and weight and body fat gain,’ says the Head of the BODYTEC® Training Academy Gerry Gerhardt.
To get to the heart of your back pain, your initial training focus should be to strengthen your core and abdominal muscles, combined with the lower back area and strengthen supporting muscles along the spine and the backside muscles of the shoulder girdle. Training activities that are helpful for treating back pain are swimming, pilates, whole-body EMS training and specific bodyweight and thera-band training.
When attempting to do bodyweight training at home, some of the most effective exercises for back pain are:
Start by getting into a press up position. Bend your elbows and rest your weight onto your forearms and not on your hands. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine. Hold this position for the prescribed time.
Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Turn around so that you're lying on your right side and repeat.
Assume a press up position so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder width apart with straight arms. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating for the desired number of reps or time.
For this exercise, you will need to put your hands beside your head, whilst lying down, with legs at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Now lift your shoulders into the crunch position. Bring knees up to where they are perpendicular to the floor, with your lower legs parallel to the floor. Move slowly, and then release on the way down.