6 exercises to mitigate back pain during your workouts

With more people than ever sitting at desks for work, this, coupled with heavy lifting at the gym, followed by sitting at the sofa afterwards can be a recipe for disaster. So there’s no doubt that the number of people experiencing back pain is on the rise. If you suffer from back pain yourself, you’ll know how painful it can be. So we’ve put together some simple exercises to help strengthen the muscles in your back that can fit into your regular fitness schedule easily. Either in the gym, or at home.

(It’s important to note before we begin, that if you experience pain of any sort whilst performing the exercises you should stop immediately).

 1. Cat 

Stretching your back, spine and neck, this exercise is a great strengthener for a lot of your back muscles. Get yourself on all fours (known as a tabletop position) with your knees hip width apart, ensuring your elbows and shoulders are in line. Your head should be in a normal position looking down at the ground.

Tensing your stomach muscles, round your spine towards the ceiling and hold for 5 seconds. Your chin should drop towards your chest, but don’t force it too much as it could cause injury. Repeat 10 times.

 2. Cow 

Usually performed at the same time as the ‘Cat’ exercise mentioned above. In the same position on all fours, the cow stretch is the opposite movement.

Instead of moving the spin upward, you try to point your chest towards the ceiling, allowing your stomach to drop towards the floor. With this, move your head upward toward the ceiling for an extra stretch. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

 3. Dry swimming 

Lie face down with a towel rolled up underneath your stomach for support. To perform this exercise, tighten your glutes and raise one arm and the opposite leg at the same time, repeating on the opposing side. Do this 10-12 times.

 4. Pelvic Tilt 

Whilst there are many variations of the pelvic tilt, this is simplest for lower back pain. Lying on your back with your knees bent toward the ceiling, your feet flat on the floor and your hands by your side. (The back of your head should be touching the mat too). Your back should be aligned so it leaves a space between your lower back and the ground. 

Engage your abs, which will tilt your spine upward and close the space between your back and the floor. You should be able to feel a stretch on your lower back. Repeat 5-10 times.

 5. Bird dog 

Starting on your hands and knees with your back flat. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift one leg behind you, no higher than your back and hold for five seconds. Then switch to your other leg. Repeat 10-12 times on each leg. For an extra stretch, try extending the opposite arm out in front at the same time.

 6. Glute Bridges 

As well as stretching your back, this also stretches your glutes, hamstrings and hips too! Lie on your back with your knees bent and the back of your head on the floor. Press your heels into the ground and lift your hips to the point they, your stomach, and quads form a straight line. Then slowly lower yourself back to the ground and repeat 10-12 times.

Stretching forms a key part of any exercise routine and is imperative to ensure joint and muscle health and stability, particularly where the back is concerned. Do this routine regularly to help strengthen your back and alleviate back pain

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