There is nothing as frustrating and aggravating as lower back pain. There is also nothing that will stop you in your tracks faster than lower back pain. So it is obvious that if you are trying to workout and get in shape, that pain in the lower back can really hinder one’s progress.
The lower back is kind of the “shock absorber” of the body. It is the focal point for resistance either being pulled up from the ground or pushed up over the head. So, if the lower back is weak and hurt, the body as a whole is affected in some way shape or form.
In fitness, a painful lower back usually means a weak lower back or even a weak core. The fix could be as easy as just strengthening up the muscles around the back and the core muscles. One should get x-rays just to be sure there is no structural damage to the back, because doing isolated movements on a back that is structurally damaged can cause more issues, so be careful.
To focus first on the core, any movement that hits the trunk/core muscles are great. Now mind you, the core is not just the muscles you see when your shirt is off. These are referred to as the superficial ab muscles. They are mostly utilized as spinal flexors. The core and trunk muscles involve the muscles running along the spine, the hips, and oblique’s. So, the core is actually a plethora of muscles working together to keep you balanced and strong. Planks and dead bugs (Google the movement if unfamiliar) are great for starters for hitting the core. You can get more isolated by doing crunches or leg lifts if you like as the core gets stronger.
Now, when looking at three movements that are a benefit for lower back pain we can look at:
- Glute bridges
These are awesome for hamstring and the booty, but also for engaging the lower back safely. With the feet not only as a foundation but also a stabilizer, you can gauge safely how far is too far with the lower back with the stretch and resistance movement.
This is a combination of a plank and crunch. Holding the body in a plank position you are hitting the trunk/core muscles, but by “piking” the hips upward you are isolating and engaging those spinal flexor ab muscles. Start with only a few reps per set, but after a while you should notice a stronger lower back which means less pain.
- Dumbbell Deadlifts
Dumbbell deadlifts are great because it gives you complete control of the weight you are picking up off the ground. And with the dumbbells being to the side of you as opposed to the front, you are forced to get a little lower to lift the weights, forcing a slight lean forward engaging the lower back. Go light! The movement itself can be tiring so resistance is something that needs to be approached delicately.