In this article we will go through a back pain workout you can do at home — the bodyweight edition.
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#1 – Back Arch
In an upright standing position with the feet a little bit further than hip-width apart, bring your hands on your low back/hip area/pelvis area, then arch the back, focusing on that movement happening in that low back area, and then go back to starting position.
This one is a mobility exercise where we loosen up those lower back joints because, many times, they have poor movement where they end up being stuck and stiff. We need to loosen them up to help reduce back pain.
Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the end position, about 1 second with light intensity.
Note: If you have a lot of back pain, go to the point that you can. You might have some discomfort, but we are not looking for screaming pain. So, with time, you will be able to move when it comes to the arching of the back.
#2 – Deadlift Movement
In standing position, feet about hip-width apart, knees straight, tighten the abdominal area and bend through the hip, sliding your hands down your thighs and down to shins, ideally coming to the point of a straight upper body, and then straighten back up to starting position.
This is a re-education exercise but also a core exercise. We are trying to educate your body to utilize the hips when it comes to movement as opposed to the low back. We are also working on the core and the abdominal area tightening up and activating when you have forward-trunk movement.
For some people, depending on how much flexibility you have, you might feel a stretch in the hamstrings and the glutes, which is perfectly normal.
Note: If you are not able to go through the full movement, do the level that you can only. Usually, with back pain, your most comfortable position is just standing, lying down on your back, or sitting, so usually moving from a position of less spinal stress. When we move that upper body at an angle, it increases the spinal stress, so go to a point where you are just having some discomfort but not screaming pain. You might not be able to get to a 90-degree position, but you can get to 10 to 30 degrees, which is a good point to start, then work on increasing that.
Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the bottom position for about 1 second with a light intensity
#3 – Bridging Exercise
Lie on your back, hands to the side, relax the upper body, with knees bent and feet are both hip-width apart. Tighten up the abdominal area. Push through the feet. Lift up the hips coming to a point where the knee, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line, and then come back down to starting position.
This is an excellent core exercise working on hamstrings, glutes, abdominal area, and all the muscles around the lower back.
Perform one set of 5 reps in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the top position about 1 second with a light intensity feeling the muscles in the hamstrings, glutes, and core work.
#4 – Open-and-Close Exercise
In a side-lying position, bend your knees & hips then stack the legs to anchor the lower body. Your upper body and arms are straight with the hands together, then open up and bring the arm back, trying to rest that hand, then going from the open position to the closed position, and then repeat the movement.
If you are uncomfortable in your head position, you can place something underneath it to keep that spine in good alignment.
In this exercise, with the legs stacked we anchor the lower body. With opening and closing with the hands, we are targeting the mid-back area, which is tight in people with poor movement, so this is a good mobility exercise, improving the movement in the mid-back and low back.
Perform one set of 5 reps on each side in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the end-position for about 1 second with light intensity.
#4a – Modified Open-and-Close Exercise
If you are not able to go through the full movement, go from the starting position then move to where you can feel some discomfort. You can go halfway and then go back to the starting position. You can do this progressively, trying a little bit further each time.
Modified Open-and-Close Exercise
#5 – 3-way Plank Movement
On your elbows, start in a plank position and then stack your hands. Prop up with the ankle, knees, hips, and shoulders in a straight line with the head in a front-plank position and stay for 2 seconds. Move to one side of the side-plank position and hold it there for 1 to 2 seconds, back to the front-plank position, move to the other side plank position and hold again for 2 seconds, and then go back to the starting position.
3-way Plank Movement
In this exercise, we are challenging the core and abdominal area in all three planes of movement — forward, left side direction, and right side direction. Also, we are challenging to work the muscles around the hip and improve the stability of the hips.
Note: If you are not able to do the three-way plank movement, you can start with just the front plank position. If that gets easy, you can add the side plank position.
Perform one set of 6 reps total in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at each of the positions for about 2 seconds with an intensity of feeling the muscles working in the abdominal area and hip area.
#6 – 90/90 Hip Flexor Stretch
In a kneeling position, bring the right foot forward with the front leg, ankle, knee, and hip at knees at 90 degrees and the left-back leg, ankle knee, and hip at 90 degrees as well. Tighten up the abdominal area and bring the hips forward, tightening the glutes and hamstrings.
90/90 Hip Flexor Stretch
In this exercise, we are stretching out the front area of the left hip, targeting the hip flexor area. Tight hip flexors increase back pain, so this flexibility stretching exercise targets the common muscles in the back that are tight affecting back pain.
Perform 1 set of 2 reps on each side, alternating back and forth, holding at the end-position for about 20 seconds with an intensity of the light stretch in the hip area that is carried on in the thigh area.
#7 – The Superman’s Exercise
Lie on the floor, face down, straighten out the arms and the legs like Superman, and then lift the left arm and lift the opposite right leg. Repeat — alternating back and forth.
The Superman’s Exercise
In this exercise, we are targeting the hamstrings and glutes on one side and the opposite side of the shoulder and mid-back area.
Perform one set of 5 reps on each side, so a total of 10 movements, in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the top position for 1 second and with an intensity of feeling the hamstrings, glutes, muscles around the shoulder blades and the mid-back area working.
So, there you go. That is the back pain workout at home. Give those exercises a go and let me know how it ends up affecting your back pain.
If you want to overcome your low back pain flare-up so you can move your back around without worrying if the pain will come back, then check out the Low Back Pain Solved program, here!
Rick Kaselj, MS