Back strengthening exercises might not be as obvious to you as you think, as developing a strong core and working on your core muscles will help to reduce back pain and hopefully prevent any further injury in the future, particularly lower back pain. Core exercises and conditioning your body through flexibility and working your core muscles is quite often more important that solely focusing on direct back exercises.
Whether you’re an avid gym-goer and had an injury through your training or you’ve pulled a muscle simply by bending over too quickly or twisting your back (which is very common), it’s really important to carry out some exercises which will help to strengthen your back and hopefully speed up the recovery process and avoid it happening again in the future.
Lee Moran, Director at Freedom Strength, outlines below five of the best exercises which you can do to help strengthen your back after an injury. These five exercises are all quite low-impact to avoid any extra strain or pushing yourself (and your back) too far. The exercises include hip lifts, the swan dive, the plank hold, the bird dog and abdominal crunches. The main thing to remember though is to never continue any exercises or a workout if your back is hurting, as this could do more harm than good.
Hip Lifts may look pretty simple but they are actually tougher and more impactful than they look, this is why they are a great exercise option for developing your core strength. A great way to relieve tension in your lower back, Hip Lifts also help to strengthen the muscle between your ribs and hips (rectus abdominis) and tone your oblique muscles.
To perform Hip Lifts:
2. Swan Dive
The Swan Dive is a very common pose in Pilates and is designed to develop back strength and improve your overall posture. Adding in this Pilates pose into your recovery training will really help with your back progress and enhance your flexibility. Ideal for any level of fitness, the Swan Dive exercise helps to work the back, abdominals, glutes, hamstrings and inner thighs. Be careful if you are suffering with any neck problems though.
To perform Swan Dive:
The Plank Hold is a brilliant exercise to master for developing your core strength. It’s quite a simple (yet tough) exercise which will help strengthen your entire body, primarily your lower core area. It’s a straightforward exercise as you don’t need any equipment and you can increase the difficulty level by making certain adjustments. The longer you can hold the plank position, the more resilient your lower back will be to injury.
Before carrying out a regular plank, it’s best to build up your strength by starting from a bent-knee plank. Once you can hold a bent-knee plank for more than two minutes, it’s time to move onto a regular plank.
To perform bent-knee Plank Hold:
To perform standard Plank Hold:
The Bird Dog exercise is a classic core exercise that is designed to emphasise lower back strength and improve balance. It’s a simple yet very effective movement that you can incorporate into your daily routine. This movement is really about strength and power rather than speed and agility. You need to ensure that your core muscles are the key focus of this exercise.
To perform Bird Dog:
Another exercise designed to improve core strength, the Abdominal Crunch will help to tone your abdominal muscles and strengthen your lower back. This type of exercise should also help to improve your overall balance and by helping to develop strong core muscles, it will aid in a healthy posture.
To perform Abdominal Crunch: