When you struggle with back pain, one of the best things you can do is exercise your spine to strengthen it and keep it limber. But where do you start to give your back the best workout without causing damage? Here are four simple yet unconventional spine exercises you can do to get your back in shape.
A strong core helps support your spine and protect it, so moves that incorporate abs and spine together are critical in your workout regimen.
Start working your core and spine with planks. Get into a hands-and-knees position, then stretch out both legs behind you so your weight is supported on your hands and toes. Your legs and spine should be a straight line all the way to your neck. Be careful not to strain your head up; keep it relaxed and gazing down.
Hold this position for 20 seconds, slowly working your way up to a full minute. If you’re struggling to hold the pose, modify it by going down onto your elbows until you’re strong enough to bring yourself up onto your hands.
Weights can really add a challenge to your spine workout. Start with 2 or 3-lb. weights, then move up to 5 or 10 pounds as you get more comfortable. Try overhead presses to work your lower back and improve your posture.
Begin in a standing position, holding your weights at your sides with your feet hip-width apart. Take your arms up to shoulder height with your elbows bent and your hands up like you’re flexing your muscles; slowly bring both weights up toward the ceiling, then lower back down to shoulder height. Repeat 12 times.
Yoga has lots of moves that are fantastic for back stretching and toning, and they’re great even for beginners. A cat/cow pose flow will help loosen and relax your spine, and is great for a warm-up or cool-down exercise.
Spine twists not only strengthen the spine but also improve flexibility, helping prevent back injuries. Start this exercise in a seated position with your legs outstretched in front of you and your toes pointed toward the ceiling. Sit with your back straight and your arms extended out to the sides. Slowly twist your entire upper body to the right, breathing into the stretch and keeping your back straight. Hold the position for a full minute, then repeat on the opposite side.