Friday, September 01, 2006

Preventive and Strengthening Exercises for Your Back

Back Raise: This exercise will help strengthen all your erector spinae (lower back) muscles. They help support you while you're doing major lifts. Lie down on your stomach with your legs straight and your arms above head. Slowly lift your chest off the floor using your lower-back muscles and hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then lower slowly. Do 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Stiff-legged Deadlift: This great exercise for your back muscles also targets your hamstrings. Place a barbell or a pair of dumbbells in front of your feet. Bend at the waist (hips) and grab the weight with an overhand grip. Keep your back as naturally straight (natural spinal alignment) as possible. Avoid rounding your back by tilting your head and looking up a bit. Then contract your hamstrings and slowly move your upper body straight up to a standing position. Lower again. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

Abdominal Crunches/Curl-ups: Doing this exercise on a ball helps strength your core and helps prevent back injuries. Lie on top of an exercise ball (a.k.a. Swiss Ball, Physio Ball) with the small of your back over its center. Keep your hands near your ears and use your abdominal muscles to curl your upper body up to about 45 degrees with a smooth and slow motion by 2 to 4 seconds. Contract your abdominal muscles and hold the position for 1 to 2 seconds. Then return to the starting position slowly with control by 2 to 4 seconds. Avoid stressing your neck by tucking in your chin and looking up a bit. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps.

Click here to see more exercises for your lower back.

The information provided here is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor or other health care professionals. Any liabilities are disclaimed for the decisions you make based on this information.

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