Are you searching for a good exercise program for lower back pain?
A good exercise program, whether you suffer with lower back pain or not, is one that targets the entire body. We are only as strong and fit as our weakest link. Your best exercises for back pain should include exercises that will strengthen your entire body-not just your lower back.
To simply build strong shoulders and arms while neglecting to strengthen the lower back, or ignoring the upper back and shoulders while you focus only on the lower back, is a prescription for disaster.
Understand that the body functions as a unit, not as individual sections.
For example, when you perform a curl, you are also activating the core. When you bend over to lift an object you essentially are activating the entire body, not just your lower back muscles.
So a weak upper back will put added stress on your lower back. Weak leg muscles will force you to use more of your lower back when you lift. If your low back is not conditioned or strong enough to handle the added stress it will result in a pulled lower back muscle or strain injury.
An example is attempting to lift a heavy object from the floor using the thigh and low back muscles. If the leg extension muscles are more powerful relative to the lower back muscles then the low back will fail because the weight of the object exceeds the limits of the lower back capability even though the thigh extensors possess the strength to lift that object.
It probably won't be enough to build your lower back or prevent lower back injuries by improving just your strength. You must also have muscular endurance and full range of motion.
Any exercise routine for lower back pain needs to address these three components of fitness:
By doing the right exercise for the right amount of sets and reps you can build strength and muscular endurance at the same time. The right exercises can also promote flexibility. But you may need to do specific stretching exercises in addition. Flexibility exercises must be targeted toward overly restricted muscles relative to their associated or opposing muscle or muscle groups.
Let's look at a good total body weight training program that strengthens your entire body, not one that is only an exercise routine for lower back pain while ignoring the rest of your body.
This exercise routine for lower back pain outlined below should take no more than one hour of your time. It should also require three days per week. That will be sufficient time and frequency to condition/strengthen the entire body without requiring you to spend wasted valuable time in the gym.
On your off days, or your non-strengthening days, you can spend an hour each day on aerobics, walking, or other types of activities that will improve cardio-vascular health.
With this routine you will need to perform each exercise for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Allow about 2 min. rest for most exercises, except squats and deadlifts which will require 3 to 4 min. rest.
During your first week perform one set of 12 to 15 repetitions. On the second week you will perform two sets of 15 repetitions for each exercise and on your third week you will be performing three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
After three weeks of conditioning it is time to add resistance. This is done by increasing the load (weight) to a poundage that will permit at least 10 repetitions but no more than 15. If you are able to perform 15 repetitions in all three sets then it's time to add a little more weight at your next workout, which will be two or three days later. If you are unable to perform at least 10 repetitions during any set than the weight is too heavy and you need to reduce the weight during that workout and subsequent workouts until you can perform at least 12 repetitions on every set. If you can do more than 15 repetitions the weight is too light and you need to add more weight.
Here is the basic eight exercises for lower back pain that I personally use to work the entire body for overall fitness:
1. Squats or substitute exercise such as leg press.
2. Deadlifts or substitute exercise such as low back extensions.
3. Dumbbell bench press.
5. Dumbbell row or cable row.
I always perform the exercises in this order. This allows you to work the larger muscle groups first which require more energy and effort. If you wait to perform these more demanding exercises later in your routine you will be unable to execute proper form and that could result in an injury.
You may be wondering why I have not included such exercises as curls, triceps extensions, leg extensions, leg curls, etc. This routine will work all the muscles efficiently and adequately. By adding isolation exercises you are just wasting time, effort. and efficiency.
You are not training to be a competitive bodybuilder. You are exercising for overall strength and conditioning. You are exercising to increase your lower back and total body strength and fitness, to prevent injury, or rehabilitate a weak and dysfunctional lower back.
If you need to perform a stretching exercise routine for lower back pain you should also try to practice efficiency. Do not waste time and effort performing unnecessary stretching. Concentrate your efforts on only those muscle and muscle groups that truly need more stretch/flexibility. A great time to include needed stretching is between sets while you are recuperating from the previous set. This will permit you to perform your stretches without adding additional time to your routine.
Allow a minimum of three months to reach a good fitness level. After three to nine months strength gains will start to plateau and it will require a change in routine to push your limits. This is not necessary for most of us. Once you reach that level of fitness and strength that you are starting to level off at, then you can add more or different exercises, more sets, more reps, or even less rest between exercises to achieve a greater fitness level. However, my advice is to keep your workouts short, simple, and efficient.
After three to nine months of conditioning and strengthening, it is best at this time to add sports activities in addition to your strengthening to enhance your fitness and lifestyle. Some of the sporting activities can include: bowling, football, tennis, swimming, mountain biking, wall climbing, etc.
These activities are more fun to do in comparison to hitting the gym three or more times per week. Just remember you need to follow a 6 to 9 month conditioning program, depending on your starting fitness level and how fast you make gains, before you attempt other more or different demanding activities.
Don't make the mistake of doing just an exercise routine for lower back pain that only concentrates on the lower back muscles. Always strive for overall fitness whether you suffer with lower back pain or not.