A global study conducted in 2010 by a number of academic institutions in Australia, the University of Washington in the US, and the Royal Cornwall Hospital in the UK found that 4 out of 5 of us suffer with lower back pain and as we age it becomes increasingly more likely. Interestingly Western Europe, North Africa and Middle East was the most common back pain habitants. Lowest sufferers in Carribean and Latin America. Is there a lifestyle link here? Perhaps. Other studies have found links in sedentary lifestyles being a possible cause back pain. Prevention over cure. If you're that 1 in 5, I wouldn't take it for granted. Stay active, lift safely, manage your ideal healthy lifestyle, look after your body with good range movement and healthy food. If you're apart of the majority remember this, you are unique.
So, what works for someone doesn't mean it will work for you.
For years I suffered with back pain. Shooting pains, trapped nerves, bulging discs, strains and sprains, general muscle soreness. I couldn't run very far or enjoy football. Sitting would give me ants in my pants. Not literally! I had to pull over on long journeys in my car and I struggled doing up my own shoe laces. Those were my carelessly lift heavy go home days. Vitality back then to me was known as a margarine brand. I didn't need to look after myself! I was young and wreckless. No pain without gain as I'd tell myself each day. I moved like an 84 year old man with full body surgery. So back on point before I lose you. Here's what I did. This doesn't mean it will work for you but there's a fantastic chance it will.
Remember you are responsible for your own actions. I'm simply sharing what has worked for me and my clients. Never attempt anything you're not confident with without seeking relevant professional advice first. Also read instructions carefully and check out the video below to see how the exercises look. Any questions please don't hesistate.
1- Lunge matrix 5 sets, 1 rep
All 6 lunges= 1 rep
* focus on a soft landing. Here we build on mild ranges. No need to go all out. We are training your nervous system to be smarter, more efficient.
2- Reach matrix 5 sets, 1 rep
All 6 movements= 1 rep
*slight bend at ankles and knees. Stay relaxed. Build yourself in gently. Create momentum from arms.
3- Scorpion press up 3 sets, 6 reps High leg squeeze with rotation to one side as you bend your arms. Both alternating legs= 1 rep
*go from knees. This is all about control and mobility. All the soft tissues around your upper spine down to your hips will feel this beauty. Build yourself into it. Go slow. Arms and legs move at same time.
4- Hang matrix 3 sets, 1 rep
All 6 movements= 1 rep
*ahhhh. This one will make you grow a few inches taller. You can use anything stable and safe so need for a pull up bar. It's just more convenient. Use your feet on the ground to lightly support your weight and control your movement.
5- Pivot Lunge matrix 3 sets, 2 reps
All 6 directions= 1 rep
*start soft knees, back straight and jump from two feet to land on one with a soft quite landing. This is one of my favourites for strengthening the hips for heavy impact exercise such as running.
6- Jump Jack matrix 1 set, 5 reps
Forward and back, side to side and twist left and right= 1 rep
*light feet, straight back and get springy on toes. Strengthen your lower legs and make them highly efficient for long days on your feet. See this little number have a positive impact on your running ability too.
7- Plank with leg drive matrix 1 set, 5 reps
All 5 movements= 1 rep
*strengthen your core 3D. Planks with movement are a way forwards. Maintain chest square to floor with a straight back. If you feel a pinch in your lower back try sucking your bum in more to alleviate the pain of extension. You can go from knees which is an easier option. If you struggle please seek advice from myself.
8- Supine bridge hip drive matrix 1 set, 10 reps
Up and down, side to side and rotating left and right- all 6 movements= 1 rep
*from a flat back start squeeze from bum to get hips up. Get your torso inline with bum and knees. Keep bum high as you go through the 3d motion. Return to start position after 1 rep.
9- Side plank star hold 1 set, 1 rep
15 secs= 1 rep
* head to feet in straight line. Squeeze from hips with elbow comfortably under shoulder.
10- Sumo deadlifts 5 sets, 5 reps
Up and down= 1 rep
*this exercise needs a little weight to which you can increase at your own pace to challenge your strength. In early stages I recommend starting light and slowly building the weight up by 2k each week. Wide stance! toes out! chest up! Lift by pushing the floor away with your feet maintaining a high chest and straight back.
11- Single leg squat 1 set, 3 reps
Each side= 1 rep
*chest up, brace your core as you descend and ascend to maintain a strong position. Bend knees and fold hips as you go to a challenging range. Build back core, leg and bum strength.
12- Single leg deadlift 1 set, 3 reps
Both sides= 1 rep
*slight bend at knee, push bum back whilst using opposite non balance leg to counter balance whilst maintaining a straight back. Slow steady control. Not sure about your back then send me a message.
13- Lunge matrix 5 sets, 1 rep
See the pictures below for demo's...(didn't work, so a video will be posted instead tomorrow).
If your not sure if your doing them correct please feel free to drop me a message.
Before attempting these exercises I'd like to say your're responsible for your own selection.
READ BEFORE ATTEMPTING, PLEASE
Beginner- exercises 1-4
Intermediate- exercises 1-8
Advanced- exercises 1-14
Each rep is controlled with focus.
I challenged mild discomfort. Rest between sets can be between 30 seconds to 1 minute. Go at your own pace. I avoided bad pain. There's a difference between a muscle working pain to a ouch disabling pain.
These I found to be the most effective exercises for myself and the hundreds of people I have worked closely with. I hope they bring some joy to you too. Remember back pain is a root pain not a root cause. Work for it. Strong feet, ankles, hips, shoulders and lastly back are crucial in full body functional success. Being free of back pain is LIBERATING!
Please share other exercises or strategies that you found useful below. Again if you have any questions about the exercises please feel free to ask. Due to upload issues with photos and descriptions I have decided to do a follow up tomorrow with a video tutorial of the above program. Stay tuned ;-)
Here's to back freedom,