Chronic lower back pain is an issue faced by many desk-bound professionals. Couple that with a sedentary lifestyle and you have a recipe for spinal and postural problems further down the line. Common treatment options for sufferers of lower back pain range from costly medication to expensive surgery. One sustainable option that is easy on the budget and most effective is to practice regular back strengthening and releasing exercises.
Most lower back issues stem from sitting for extended periods at our desks, which causes immobility through the hips and spine. Being in a seated position for too long causes shortening of muscles around these joints, resulting in muscle imbalances which in turn lead to back pain. Simple bodyweight mobility exercises will help to strengthen the weak areas, releasing the tight areas at the same time for a healthier and pain-free back.
Areas to target when strengthening would be the muscles around the upper leg (hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, abductors), back extensors, abdominals and glutes. Investing some time on developing these areas will go a long way in eliminating back pain.
However, if you already suffer from injuries to your back, it is best to seek professional guidance and training to help take care of your blind spots and avoid straining your back any further. Below, five simple exercises to help alleviate lower back pain.
1. Knee's 90
Get into a four-point push-up position (hands and feet on the ground). Keep your knees off the floor while maintaining a 90-degree angle at your ankle, knees and hip. Maintain stability through the core by engaging the abdominals and keep a long spine. Hold for 60 to 90 seconds.
Start from the Knee's 90 position (as per the exerise above). Bring your right leg between your left thigh and left arm, rotating through the hips until it touches the floor. Straighten your right leg and point the left knee up while keeping your entire left foot on the ground. Keep both hands on the floor and maintain an upright spine. Repeat for 15 reps on each side. Be sure to focus on your form and technique.
3. Glute Bridge
Lie facing up with palms facing down on the floor, knees bent at 90-degrees. Push through the heel and arms, keeping a neutral spine, lift hips up off the ground. Drive movement through the hips by squeezing the glutes and hamstrings. Hold this position for 60 to 90 seconds.
4. Bent-Leg Body Twist
Lie facing up with palms outstretched to the side (perpendicular to your torso). Lift legs off the ground with knees bent at 90-degrees. Brace the upper back by pressing palms down unto the ground. Rotate knees side to side. Perform 15 reps for each side.
5. Prone Row
Lie face down with elbows bent (palms facing downwards). Drive toes, knees and hips onto the ground. Lift elbows up until the hands are above the ground. Pull your shoulders back and down. Lift your chest off the ground by extending the back. Be sure to keep your neck long. Hold for 60 to 90 seconds.
About Khid Khairudin
Khid was previously a physical training instructor in the Singapore Armed Forces and worked with children at the PAP Community Foundation as a gym coach. He is also an ACE certified personal trainer, a REHAB Trainer and FMS Level 2 certified trainer. Khid's expertise include building and developing high performing teams. As a Personal Training Trainer at Virgin Active Raffles Place, he is also involved in educating and mentoring other trainers.
Visit Virgin Active to learn more about the personal training sessions they offer.