Use these 3 mobility drills and 6 strength building exercises
to help alleviate pain and restore neutral posture to spine and pelvis.
Low back pain is incredibly common. In fact, 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lifetime, and many simply have resigned to chronic back pain. But it doesn't have to be this way. In fact, alleviating back pain is more actionable than most people think. It does take a little guidance and commitment. Follow these nine drills to restore your posture and alleviate your back pain today.
Learn how to breathe for better posture
To truly enhance the effects of these nine drills, diaphragmatic breathing is beneficial. This means controlled breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth. The goal is to fill your back with air instead of your chest. When we inhale, the goal is to experience minimal movement in the rib cage. When we exhale, you should feel the rib cage fall, or flatten, and abs slightly engage as they wrap around the ribcage.
Let's practice! Wherever you are, seated or standing, place both hands on your ribcage. When you breathe in, strive to breathe into the space between your shoulder blades. AKA breathe deeply into your back, not shallow in the front of your chest. When you exhale out of your mouth, try to feel your ribs almost deflating underneath your hands, as if your ribs are closing together like a gate. If you exhale until you have no air left, you will feel your abs tighten. This is the “closed rib cage” position we always want to strive for in any movement, and especially in mobility drills like the ones below. Keeping the rib cage closed, or “setting the ribcage” will help restore posture immediately. The more you can practice this restorative breathing, while on your commute, in the gym or before bed, the happier your back will be. And calmer, too!
3 mobility drills
You can implement these drills into your warm-ups before your workout, or simply do these after waking up each morning, before bed to wind down, or on a break at work if you have the space.
6 strength exercises
In addition to practicing your breath and setting your posture, strengthening your glutes and core with the following movements will help to alleviate lower back pain over time. Try them today!
Strong glutes are said to be the powerhouse of the body, because they are so important for all movement! Having strong glutes can alleviate low back and knee pain. Why? When we train glutes through loaded lower body exercises, we also are training our core as well. When we have strong glutes and core, these muscles can do the brunt of the work for us and much more efficiently, instead of relying on our delicate spine or knees to get the job done. Here are some exercises to practice.
Iso Cook Hip Lift 2-3 x 10 - 15 second holds on each side, until you start to feel some "warmth" in the back of your legs/glutes
Goblet Squat 3 x 8, bodyweight first, then load with a dumbbell or kettlebell.
Split Squats 3 x 8 each leg
The other area of your body that can help aid in low back pain, which we already touched upon above, are your abdominals. Your abdominal wall is an extension of your back muscles. They work together to keep the torso in tact. When your abs can efficiently control flexion (like in a crunch or side bend) and rotation (as when swinging a bat, for example), and resist rotation and extension (as in a side or front plank), your risk for injury diminishes and strength increases.
Here are a few exercises that are stellar at working on ab strength from a neutral spine position, which is important when combatting back pain.
Good luck with these drills! With consistency and special attention to your posture, you can alleviate back pain without pharmaceuticals, surgery and suffering.
Take BACK your life! :)