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Charleston Fitness- Best Workouts To Help With Low Back Pain

As a certified Charleston personal trainer I often get asked what’s the best type of workout to do that will help with low back pain? It’s a good question because not all exercise routines are created equal.

In this post I’ll be sharing some tips on the best way to workout to eliminate low back pain and explain why there are some exercises you’ll want to avoid.

I’ll preface this discussion by recommending you have a reputable chiropractor examine your low back pain before starting any exercise routine. It’s imperative that you discover the underlying cause(s) of the pain before exercising in a way that may make the situation worse.

Make no mistake, certain exercises can be extremely effective in eliminating low back pain, but you you need to know what you’re dealing with. The pain may be the result of subluxation of the vertebrae caused by muscle imbalances or it may be the result of a more serious condition with a bulging disc, etc.

I regularly work in conjunction with several Charleston area chiropractors on personalized fitness routines for their patients. A properly designed program can compliment chiropractic adjustments and help resolve the underlying muscle imbalances that contribute to low back problems.

A knowledgeable fitness professional that has a solid understanding of kinesiology can help you select the most appropriate exercises and stretches to do.

Your best approach will be to work with both a chiropractor and fitness professional for corrective measures.

Each party plays an important role in the overall treatment plan. Receiving chiropractic adjustments without additional corrective exercise and stretching will diminish your results and often not fix the underlying problems.

Likewise the fitness professional can only help you with the muscle imbalances and not the manipulation and realignment of vertebrae.

Functional exercise for the optimal workouts to help with low back pain…

In general the optimal forms of workouts for low back pain will entail functional exercises and stretches. These are simply exercises that mimic the normal human movement patterns.

It’s important to remember that the human body works with integration as one big kinetic chain. The entire neuromuscular and skeletal system works together and not as individual parts in isolation. Take a squatting movement for example.

When you perform a squat, the muscles in your legs, glutes, low back, and core all work together to complete the movement. If any one of these areas has imbalances it can impact the overall movement pattern.

Individuals with low back pain often avoid squatting exercises in their workout routines in favor of seated exercises that isolate particular muscle groups. This is a significant mistake because it ignores the integration that happens with every day movements.

Everyone needs to squat in some way, even getting out of a chair incorporates a squatting movement. While not everyone may be a candidate for weighted barbell squats due to the loaded vertrebral flexion of the spine, they could however be doing body weight squats or use the assistance of suspension straps.

The best forms of functional exercise for low back pain will always start with body weight movements. The use of a light medicine ball or resistance band can be included for added resistance before moving to weighted resistance.

Here are some of my preferred functional exercises that I start clients off with who have low back pain:

- body weight squats
- body weight reaches
- medicine ball chops
- body weight 1 Leg reaches
- body weight pelvic tilts
- body weight hip bridges
- body weight hip mobility exercises
- body weight step-up’s
- push-up’s
- plank variations
- resistance band rowing and pulling variations
- resistance band pressing variations

The key commonality behind these exercises is they all mimic the 5 pillars of human movement. Everyone needs to push or pull something, perform a level change (step up- down), rotate, and use locomotion. The intensities of these movements will vary from individual to individual but this occurs across all planes of motion in everyday life.

Stop exercising while sitting down!

By working the body in this way we’re focusing on integration of the major muscle groups and NOT attempting to isolate them. This is in stark contrast to how an individual is likely to exercise in a traditional health club. Most health clubs and gyms are filled with isolation equipment where the user completes the exercise while sitting down.

Since sitting too much is often a contributor to low back pain in the first place, being seated while exercising is counter-intuitive. In fact, many of the exercises people with low back pain attempt to do in health clubs can make their muscle imbalance problems worse!

Here are a few primary examples of exercises to AVOID:

- seated leg extension
- seated or lying leg curls
- seated ab crunch
- seated hip / torso rotation
- seated hip abduction / adduction machine
- seated leg press

You’ll want to avoid using these machines if you suffer from low back pain. Get on your feet and move your body in the way it was designed to move.

Over time after completing functional exercises and stretches you can begin incorporating weighted exercises. My preferred methods are to use free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells) and cable machines with variable range of motion.

Some of the best free weight exercises to help with low back pain are the very ones most people avoid!

These include dead-lift variations, squat variations, lunge variations, chop variations, and single leg work.

You’ll want to have a fitness professional provide you with a carefully planned progression and instruct you on proper form and technique. However, exercises like the dead-lift and squat which work the legs, glutes, core muscles, and pelvic-lumbar muscles with integration are extremely beneficial. They work on rectifying the underlying muscle imbalances that often lead to low back problems in the first place.

So the bottom line is to get on your feet and move with functional exercises and stretches first. Then and only then would you want to progress to exercises that incorporate weighted resistance.

I have a saying that I’m often repeating to clients and my other coaches at Shaping Concepts.

“If you can’t perform a squat correctly with your own body weight, you have no business doing a weighted squat.”

Stick with the basic fundamental human movements and work them repeatedly until proper movement patterns develop. This may take some time so be patient with yourself. The last thing you want to be doing is rushing into weight training too soon and increase your risk of injury.

If you live in the Charleston, SC area and would like to learn more about a personalized fitness routine to help with low back pain, I’m here to help. My staff of certified and knowledgeable fitness professionals can complete a kinetic chain and movement assessment on you and work in conjunction with your chiropractor on a corrective exercise protocol.

We offer a FREE no-obligations trial and consultation to learn more. Click the link below to sign-up today.

Low back pain is not going to necessarily go away on its own by remaining in-active. Movement and exercise play an essential role in a long-term plan to remain mobile, active, and pain free. You just want to make sure you’re doing the most efficient exercises and you’re doing them correctly.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up today for a no obligations consultation.

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Category: Corrective Exercise.