This is the year to tackle your fitness goals, but first things first. If you suffer from chronic back pain in your lower or upper back, there is a solution, and it doesn’t involve expensive appointments to your chiropractor or pricey gym memberships. Check out this simple workout routine you can do every day on a yoga or gym mat that will loosen up your tight back muscles, promote better posture, and relieve discomfort.
My suggestion is to do this workout first thing in the morning, because it smooths out any sleep-related stiffness and re-sets your spine so you can stand up straighter. No excuses! You need to make the time for this!
This classic yoga pose is so popular because it opens up the hips, which are especially tight if you have a desk job. Child’s Pose also elongates your spine and decompresses the disks, especially when it’s accompanied by deep breathing.
Kneel on the mat, sit back on your heels, and fold forward with your arms extended. If you feel “squished,” widen your knees so your forehead can get closer to the floor.
Ideal for activating the muscles in your back, the Cat-Cow pose is also an excellent stretch for your neck, hips, and tummy. It improves flexibility and mobility in your spine, improves posture, and relieves stress. What’s not to like?
Start in a table pose on your hands and knees. Make sure you’re in a square position, with hips over knees and shoulders over wrists. Move into Cat pose by arching your back, pushing your belly button inwards, and drawing your chin towards your chest. Go back to table before lifting your tailbone, pushing your belly towards the floor, and moving your chest and neck up for Cow pose.
At first, it doesn’t look like this exercise will do much for your back, but think again. Holding a strong core while lifting each leg is a huge challenge, and leg lifts like this build strength in your glutes (bum). The result? A straighter back.
The Cobra goes by many different names, but it’s all the same idea: improving strength in your posterior chain, which are the connecting muscles in your back including the trapezius (between the shoulder blades), glutes (bum), and hamstrings (backs of the thighs). This is one of the best exercises for low back pain. It sure helped me!
I’ll admit, this workout is a bunch of hand-picked moves straight from yoga and Pilates, and this bridge exercise is no exception. If it’s enough challenge for you to simply lift your hips off the ground, just do that. Only add leg lifts once you’ve built up enough core strength.
Oh the plank. It’s so great because it strengthens the whole trunk of the body, including the abdominal muscles (commonly known as “abs”) and the back muscles supporting your spine. If you’re having difficulty holding the position for very long, don’t push it. Watch your form, and when you get tired, take a break. It won’t be long before you can hold a strong plank for 60 seconds or more!
Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away, but I can give you a good guarantee that you’ll notice a difference in back strength if you do this workout every day for a week!