Low back pain is common in athletes. According to statistics, lower back pain is ranked as one of the leading musculoskeletal ailments in the United States. The good news is that this problem can be alleviated by doing exercises that strengthen the core musculature.
The core is made up of back and and abdominal muscles that wraps around the body- like a corset does. Strengthening these muscles increases the amount of weight the lower back is able to support and move comfortably.
As an athlete, enhancing your stability will not only help to alleviate and prevent lower back pain, but it also means that you will be better equipped to handle the same stress from your workouts . As you workout, be careful to focus on exercises that will not exacerbate your lower back issues. It is advisable to work with a professional trainer who has experience in dealing with sports related injuries.
Lets take a look at some of the recommended exercises you can do to enhance your core stability.
The Bird Dog Exercise
This is a very simple exercise. The moves involved work all the low back paraspinals and the core musculature. To do it, you have to position your hands and knees in tabletop posture. Stack your hands under your shoulders and your legs under your hips. This is the starting posture. Take one leg out, pointing out, while doing the same thing with the opposite hand. Now you’re in balance.
At this position, you have a couple of options depending on what your mission is. You can bend the same limbs inwards towards your stomach repeatedly or balance yourself in that position. Switch limbs after 2 minutes or so. Great for athletes looking for better body balance. Make sure you do not overdo it.
Start by getting into the flat position on a mat or the floor i.e. face facing the floor. Raise your body using the tiptoes and forearms. Make sure your shoulders are directly above your elbows and hips in line with the body. There should be a flat line from the head to heels. You can choose to hold this position or go about it in other various forms. You can also decide to squeeze your entire core or quads, all while having your head gazed down so that your neck is in a neutral position.
Glute Bridge/ Hip Brace
For this exercise, first lay on your back facing up. Lift your legs in a tabletop position at about 90 degrees as you stack up against your hips at the same time. Have your arms crunch up closer to your hips using them for stability as you move your pelvis up and down. Now hold this position and keep on doing these movements for as long as your core muscles can. This is an excellent exercise for practicing your back muscles since you keep engaging your core back muscles through stretching and relaxing. At the same time, you engage your glutes, Improving your body stability.
This is a variation of the plank. The only difference is you lean on your side instead. Start by having your arm directly underneath your shoulder. Extend your legs so that you are making a straight line from your head to the legs. Hold this first position. Lift your other arm towards the ceiling and look at that lifted arm. This exercise is good for transverse abdominis, the rectus abdominis, the obliques, and the quadratus lumborum.
What You Should Know
An athlete`s lumbar vertebrae experiences a lot of strain and stress and so do the back muscles. This results in spinal instability which cause back pains. Even though these core exercises are not intended to completely heal, they are highly recommended in treating back pains caused by spinal instability. You can work closely with a professional fitness trainer who can show you how to perfect the execution of these exercises.