The lower back is the most important part of the body to keep strong and healthy and injury free. Once the lower back runs into problems, seldom do things improve. As they say – you’ve only got one spine, so look after it.
Not only should you take extreme – and I do mean extreme – care to perform all exercises with a steady and locked back (not rounded, in most cases) to protect your spine, but, by performing some simple exercises you can really give your back some major support. And, if you’ve suffered from a back injury before; just run of the mill back problems, or have a weak or stiff back – these exercises can really help you.
Before you think about dead lifts (the main exercise for improving lower back strength using weights), we’ll look at some weight free options to ease you into it. Where your back is concerned, you shouldn’t ever be too keen to start punishing it.
I remember before I started weights, I would sometimes get a stiff aching back, and one exercise I was introduced to really begun to help me build some strength there before I moved onto dead lifts. That exercise was to get into the push-up position, but instead of having my toes dug into the ground, my feet would be pointing away from my back (instep flat to the floor), and instead of raising my body up creating a bridge, what I’d do is plant my arms under me, and attempt to lift my upper body up, whilst keeping my torso flat to the floor; so in effect, all that is happening is the upper body is being lifted up, giving the lower back a good contraction. Holding this for around 10 seconds and repeating around 5 times, 3 times a week, really did wonders for me.
Another is the simple old touching of the toes – or the floor – with your knees straight; and is a good way to give your back more flexibility. The thing you should never do however is bounce at the bottom of this movement – that is a definite no, no. Any exercise you perform should be fluid and smooth, and shouldn’t involve jolting movements at all; that is how accidents and injuries occur – especially to the spine.