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15 Simple but Powerful Back Exercises to Ease Stiffness and Lower Back Pain

15 Simple but Powerful Back Exercises to Ease Stiffness and Lower Back Pain

Almost every single person on this planet has experienced some sort of back pain, whether it be in their lower, middle, or upper back. I can tell you those who have had it bad will bear witness to the horrific pain that can come with any kind of back pain. Some might become so desperate that they’ll resort to options such as surgery. Ouch!

But what if I can help you without doing something so drastic? What if you found that back exercises or stretching might be the one thing that actually helped?

Read over this list of fifteen exercises that will help ease your back pain.

1. Inversion Table

inversiontable2

    Inversion tables are an excellent piece of equipment that will help stretch your back to a different kind of level. They use the pull of gravity to assist in stretching your spine. If you are experiencing any kind of back pain, an investment in one of these might be your answer.

    2. Cobra Stretch

    cobrastretch

      Cobra stretches can be performed anywhere you feel comfortable and that has plenty of floor space. Cobra stretches have relieved many people’s back pains and continue to help those who are looking for relief. Always make sure you keep your feet together and go as high as possible with your shoulders.

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      3. Lower Back Twist

      lowerbacktwist

        Lower back twists are an easy stretch to perform. These twists help with stretching your Gluteus Maximus muscles as well as your lower back. When performing this stretch, make sure to not lift both shoulders off the floor while you are bringing one of your legs across your body onto the other side.

        4. Lying Lower Back Stretch

        lyinglowerbackstretch

          The lying lower back stretch is a great stretch for this area of your back. Use your hands to pull your knees in and up to your chest. Don’t worry if your lower back comes off the floor. Hold your position at the top for a good 15 to 30 seconds, then release.

          5. Fitness Ball Wrap

          fitnessballwrap2

            Using a large fitness ball, you will be performing the fitness ball wrap. This stretches your back the other way and you will soon discover how effective it is and how much relief it gives you! Stay as long as you feel like while your body wraps around the top of the fitness ball.

            6. Lying Static Leg Raise

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            lyinglegraise

              The lying static leg raise helps with the lower back by placing more pressure on the back from a vertical standpoint. You will find this to be very comfortable and relieving. If you’ve had a tough day at work and your back is aching a bit, have yourself do the lying static leg raise for 15 to 20 minutes.

              7. Hyperextension Machine Stretch

              hyperextmachinestretch

                This stretch is very similar to the large fitness ball wrap. Instead, however, you will be using a hyperextension machine that can be found at your local gym. Get on one and slowly lower yourself until you feel a full stretch in your lower back. Stay locked in this position for 15 to 30 seconds.

                8. Glute Stretch

                glutestretch

                  When you pull your foot underneath the knee of your other leg, you can then start pulling both legs towards your chest. This will help give you a greater stretch in your glutes area and your lower back. Hold this position for fifteen to thirty seconds, then release.

                  9. Deadlifts

                  Deadlift

                    Deadlifts are an excellent exercise to use for strengthening your lower back and many more other muscles. However, if you’re already experiencing lower back pain, I advise you to go light with these exercises so as to not aggravate your lower back. Keep your back straight at all times throughout the whole movement.

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                    10. Ab and Rope Crunches

                    cablecrunch

                      Sometimes, lower back pain may be caused by muscle imbalances in the core area. This type of lower back pain may be relieved by strengthening weak abdominals, which serves to counteract the strong muscles in the back. Crunches and rope crunches are some of the best exercises to strengthen the core and help start supporting your lower back.

                      11. Hyperextension on the Fitness Ball

                      1010-back-extension

                        If you don’t have a gym membership and you’d prefer doing this stretch at home, grab a large fitness ball and lay on your stomach. Start by placing both hands behind your head and lowering your shoulders. Stop once you feel a full stretch and then engage your lower back, bringing yourself back up again. You can use this stretch as a back exercise as well by doing more repetitions.

                        12. Hyperextension Exercise

                        hyperextensions

                          An excellent lower back exercise, this exercise alone can help you create a stronger lower back. If you have a weak back, I advise you start performing this exercise right away. Just like the hyperextension on the large fitness ball, you will be going down until you feel a full stretch. You may increase the intensity by holding a dumbbell in your hands.

                          13. Pelvic Thrust

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                          Pelvic-Thrust-2

                            Start by having your entire back flat on the floor. Bend your legs and have your feet come in next to your hamstrings. Push up with your legs and thrust your pelvis out. To increase the intensity of this exercise, place and hold some weight on top of your thighs.

                            14. Less Sitting and More Breaks

                            lesssitting

                              Sometimes prevention is the key and this can certainly apply to lower back pain. Many people’s lower back pain can be traced all the way to the amount of sitting they do each day. According to U.S. News, 86 percent of Americans sit for 13 hours a day. That’s a lot of sitting, and if by chance you are going to sit for that long, I urge you to take as many breaks as possible from it.

                              15. Helpful Back Belts

                              back_pain_belt

                                I can’t lie, belts have been a strong factor in relieving my lower back pain. If you’re into fitness, sit down a lot, or have a physical job, I advise you to look into a belt that may help relieve the tension on your lower back. Support it and it will support you back.

                                Your Three-Step Plan to a Better Lower Back

                                1. Before beginning any exercise regimen or trying out a new string of stretches, please book an appointment with your chiropractor or doctor first. It is very important that you be looked at by a professional and have them explain to you the proper procedure in doing each back exercise or stretch. You don’t want to injure yourself even further because that may only cause more pain in your lower back.

                                2. Pick two or three points in this article and stick to them only. The last thing you want to do is try to perform each exercise or stretch and do each one of them poorly. Remember, each exercise or stretch takes time to master, as well as a lot of practice. After becoming good at a set of three things, gradually add more if needed.

                                3. It’s not about more. It’s about how much is needed. Just because you have lower back pain doesn’t mean you have to do a huge amount of stretches and exercises for it. That can do more damage than good and it can become counterproductive. Many times your back is already stressed and causing more stress to it by performing stretches and exercises can never be good. Give yourself a break, stop doing what you know that’s causing your lower back to ache, and prevent bad habits causing it to ache in the first place.

                                Featured photo credit: John Carleton via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                                7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                                Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                                1. Exercise Daily

                                It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                                If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                                Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                                If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                                2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                                Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                                One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                                This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                                3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                                Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                                Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                                Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                                4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                                Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                                The basic nutritional advice includes:

                                • Eat unprocessed foods
                                • Eat more veggies
                                • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                                • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                                Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                                  5. Watch Out for Travel

                                  Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                                  This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                                  If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                                  6. Start Slow

                                  Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                                  If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                                  7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                                  Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                                  My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                                  If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                                  I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                                  Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                                  More Tips on Getting in Shape

                                  Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

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