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Exercises To Help You Strengthen Your Back

Many people who spend much of their day at desk jobs tend to suffer from back pain at some point. Any back pain is really hurtful and makes it hard to sit at the desk for hours. The best way to prevent back pain from occurring is to exercise regularly. Simple, regular exercise strengthens the muscles, protects the spine and supports the back.

But not just any exercise would work – to combat back pain, you will need to choose the right exercises that strengthen the back muscles and increase flexibility. There are three types of exercises that help fight back pain more effectively.

Cardiovascular Exercises: Cardiovascular exercises build up muscular strength and stamina and help with your overall fitness. However, it is important to do this right, so that the back doesn’t get hurt. So, it’s better to stick to simple cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming and cycling.

Exercise that Strengthen the Core Muscles: There are exercises such as Pilates and yoga that strengthen the core muscles, especially those around the stomach, hip area, back and leg. These exercises support and protect the spine; keep the back strong and prevent back injury.

Stretching Exercises: Stretching exercises improve the back’s flexibility. The key to these exercises is to stretch slowly and to avoid any unexpected movement. Never push the body harder or faster than what’s needed.

There are several other back strengthening exercises as well, which you should make a part of your daily exercise routine. Let’s look at 3 of the most effective ones.

Hip Bridge

This exercise is recommended for those who spend a lot of time sitting at their desk, which puts excessive pressure on the spine.  This exercise stretches the hip flexors, stabilizes the spine and strengthens the abdominal muscles. To perform a Hip Bridge, lie on your back, with your feet flat on the ground and hip-width apart. Keep your arms relaxed and knees bent. Now, squeeze your buttocks even as you lift your hips at the same time, creating a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. Hold in the position for a count of 3 and then lower yourself slowly. Do 10 to 12 reps.

Bird Dog

Bird Dog improves muscle balance and coordination. It stabilizes the spine, tones the glutes, hamstrings and the upper back and tightens the abs. To perform this exercise, be on all fours, with knees wide apart and under the hips, with hand flat and shoulder width apart. With the spine completely neutral and avoiding arching the back or rotating the hips, extend the right leg back and left arm straight forward. Hold for a count of 3 and repeat on the other side. Do 6 reps on each side.

Side Plank

Side plank is one of the most effective exercises for the back that builds great strength and endurance in the core. It offers excellent support to the lower back and helps to keep it stable during physical activities that require movement in the hips or the back. It is easy to perform this exercise, just lie on your right side, while maintaining a straight line from the head to the feet, and rest on your forearm. Your elbow should be directly under the shoulder. Now, slowly contract the abdominal muscles and lift the hips off the floor at the same time, while maintaining the straight line at all times. Hold the position for around 30 seconds and then lower. Repeat the same on the other side. Do 3 reps on each side.

Before getting started with any back exercise, consult with a doctor or a physiotherapist, and ask them to create a training routine that’s suitable for your needs.