Odds are you know at least one person who has had a lower back injury. The lower back is prone to injury thanks to poor posture, repetitive stress, twisting, or sudden movements. Even lifting a heavy object can contribute to the development of microscopic tears or the stretching of your ligaments and muscles. When working out, you’ll want to take special care to avoid the type of injury that could sideline you for weeks, sometimes much longer.
Core Strengthening Exercises
Every muscle group has another group of muscles that help to support it. Your lower back is supported by your core, so including core strengthening movements in your workouts is critical. Crunches, of course, aren’t great if you already have signs of lower back problems. Start with lower-impact exercises as simple as walking while paying attention to your posture. Your core and back will work together and you’ll increase bloodflow to your lower back.
Modify Your Hamstring Stretch
Your lower back and your hamstrings are directly related, so if those hamstrings get sore or tight your lower back is bound to follow. The old-school hamstring stretch involved standing straight up and then bending forward to try and touch your toes. This downward movement puts a lot of strain on your lower back. Instead, try putting your leg up on a chair and tilting forward. Push your hips backward and keep your back as straight as you can as you reach about 6 inches above your foot. Do not bounce back and forth as you do this exercise.
Adjust Your Treadmill
Do you love pounding out a few miles on your treadmill every day? Lower back pain from treadmill work is usually the result of poor posture. Make sure you have a relaxed but erect spine. Your head should be straight and you should pay attention to your abs. One of the worst things you can do is hold the bars of the treadmill while you run. Doing so causes you to lean forward, putting a ton of pressure on your lower back. You may also want to adjust your treadmill so you are running on an incline of at least 1 or 2, to better emulate a more natural surface.
Talk to a Fitness Coach
Make sure your form is on point when lifting weights. A personal trainer or coach can help you adjust your lifting techniques to avoid excess strain on your lower back. If you’re working on bodybuilding or competition-style lifting, you may need to discuss wearing lower back support to aid in your efforts as well.