Has your back been bothering you lately?
Do you tweak your back from time to time?
Is your back totally fine, but you want to get a head start and avoid the above?
You’re in the right place!
In this brief guide we’ve outlined some of our favorite, big-bang-for-your-buck exercises to strengthen all around your spine and core. We made sure to hit on 3 main regions of your body: your thoracic spine (mid-upper back), lumbar spine (lower back), and hips - they are all connected and therefore influence each other! We also made sure to incorporate movements in the 3 planes of movement that we need for a healthy, strong, resilient body to live our best lives: forward/backward, lateral, and rotational.
*Please keep in mind that these are general recommendations and guidelines for exercises to help your back. If you are experiencing symptoms such as: numbness, tinging, or pain down your leg; inability to control bowel/bladder function; inability to raise your ankle and toes, please reach out to your physician immediately. These are signs of more significant injury to the spine that require in-person examination and rehab!*
Equipment: long resistance band
Plant your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent 90 degrees. Squeeze your buttocks together and push your hips up toward the ceiling. At the same time, pull the resistance band down by your sides. Repeat 8-10 times for 3 sets.
Place your elbow in line under your shoulder, bend both your knees, and lift your bottom hip from the ground. Straighten out your top leg and lift it a few inches into the air. Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets on each side.
Equipment: a moderate weight kettlebell, dumbbell, even a jug of water/milk/juice works well!
Hold your weight in 1 arm, stand up tall, engage your core by pulling the belly button in. Then march your knees high in a controlled manner. Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch the weight to the other hand. The goal here is not to feel off-balance! Perform 2-3 sets each side.
Lie on your back with your heads very close to a wall behind you. Place your palms flat on the wall, elbows pointing toward the ceiling. Bring both your legs off the floor with your knees bent. As you push both hands firmly into the wall behind you, extend one leg out straight, then bring it back in, and extend the opposite leg out straight. Keep pressure on the wall and make sure you breathe!
Repeat for 20-30 seconds for 2-3 rounds.
Equipment: a long resistance band
Get your resistance band anchored near chest height - you can tie it around a pole or squat rack, or even close it in a door. Stand in a slightly staggered position - the leg further away from the band should be in front. With both hands, pull the band toward the center of your chest, there should be some tension on the band here! Push the band straight forward, hold for 1-2 seconds, then pull back toward your chest. The idea here is that the band will try to rotate your upper body, but don’t let that happen! 10-12 pushes then turn around to get your other side/set of abdominals.
Equipment: a couch, ottoman, stool, etc.
This is a bit more of an advanced version of some other hip flexor stretches you may have performed or seen online. Place one foot on the edge of the couch and then lunge down onto the floor until your knee is touching the ground. You should feel a pretty intense stretch through the front of the hip and thigh of that leg that is on the couch. Feel free to hang on to a chair or coffee table for balance! Hold at least 30 seconds.
We hope you find this helpful and even a bit challenging! Questions? Comments? Let us know!
Dr. Dina, Dr. Lauren, & Dr. Jess
Core Physical Therapy & Performance
11 Randolph Road, Randolph, MA, 02368
36 Finnell Drive, Suite 2, Weymouth, MA 02188