Nothing puts you out of commission quite like an injured back. Anyone who’s ever thrown their back out from practicing improper form or strained their back from lifting too much knows how frustrating it is to put your feet up while you wait to recover.
Studies have shown that back pain is often genetic, meaning even active, healthy people may end up dealing with it for their entire lives. However, there are things you can do to strengthen your lower back and therefore reduce the chances of throwing your back out or dealing with other painful (and annoying) chronic back issues. We’ll share a few of them in today’s blog.
Weightlifting is a great way to strengthen your back. However, as soon as you break form, it also becomes the best way to injure your back. People usually end up with bad form because they’re lifting too heavy. The best way to protect against this is to build weight gradually and practice in front of a mirror — that way you can see when your form is off before you start to feel it.
There’s a fine line between challenging yourself and hurting your body. The moment you feel yourself cross that line into injury-prone territory is the moment you need to reduce your weight. No PR is worth a back injury.
Try these weightlifting exercises to strengthen your back:
- Good mornings
- Dumbbell or barbell rows
- Kettlebell swings
Yoga will strengthen not only your back, but also all of your stabilizer muscles. To understand why that is important, you need to first realize that the body has two types of muscles: movers and stabilizers. Most workout styles target the movers, but the stabilizers are what keep you from injuring yourself when the movers are working. In other words, the stronger you stabilizers are, the less likely you’ll be to injure your back.
Yoga also challenges you to tune into what your body is telling you and focus on form. The more time you spend practicing proper form and learning what alignment feels like, the better equipped you will be to practice good form and protect your back during other workouts.
Yoga moves to strengthen your back and prevent injury:
- Floating triangle
Strong abdominals are one of the best ways to protect your back. Want proof? Take Kevin Hart for example. Hart was in a serious car accident that left him with a broken back in 2019. In an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, Hart explained that his back was crushed during the accident. According to his doctor, the strength of his abdominal muscles kept him from being crushed to the point of paralyzation. Hart still endured a long, painful recovery, but thanks to strong abdominals, he was able to work through a temporary injury rather than live with a permanent one.
If that’s not motivation to work on your abs, we’re not sure what is. Here are some exercises to get you started:
- Jack knife crunch
- Mountain climbers
- Flutter kicks
- Russian twists
Rules 1 and 2: Variety and Consistency
As we’ve discussed, it’s important to work on your form, practice yoga, and strengthen your abs, but while you’re doing all of that, make sure variety and consistency are your guiding principles.
Variety in your workouts keeps you strong throughout your body. If you’re always doing the same things over and over, chances are, you’re overworking some muscles, which can lead to injury, and completely missing other muscles. Target different muscle groups when you’re lifting, and try to incorporate plenty of cardio and yoga into your workout routine as well.
Consistency is necessary in order to build and maintain strength. If you want a stronger back, it’s not going to happen overnight. It takes a lot of consistent work to get where you want to be. But remember, making your back strong is not the finish line. The point is to build strength with consistent workouts, and then maintain that strength through consistent activity.
The trainers at Balance Fitness can help. Whatever your goals, they want to help you reach them. Contact us today to learn more about what a training program through Balance Fitness might look like for you.