5 Ways to Improve Posture and Prevent Lower Back Pain

5 Ways to Improve Posture and Prevent Lower Back PainOver the years you may have noticed and felt that your back hurts from time-to-time.  As the years continue on, the pain in the lower portion and all through the back may be progressing in a slow fashion, which is not the best situation.  There may even be days in which you could throw your back away and hope for a brand new one.  If this is something you feel every now and then or even if it is chronic or recurring, you may have weak back muscles contributing to your pain.  Your trips to the gym may need to incorporate a few additional exercises or stretches to help alleviate some of the pain.

Lower back pain is the second most common complaint in the medical industry and is just behind the common cold for reasons for missed work among U.S. workers.  It is described that about 80 percent of individuals will have some sort of back pain during the lifespan and roughly 15-20 percent will experience pain lasting at least one year in duration [1].  Most reasons for lower back pain can be attributed to a poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, and improper physical training, all of which can deteriorate and cause the pain to progress much quicker.  With that said, a good posture and proper training means proper form and regular exercise at the gym.  Consider the remainder of this article a guide for increasing strength in your back area to help improve posture and prevent lower back pain.

5 Ways to Improve Posture and Prevent Lower Back Pain

  1. Crunches. Part of having a healthy back involves a strong abdominal area.  A strong abdominal area gives the spine much needed protection and strong abdominals can help maintain a good posture.  The crunch is a great exercise for improving the abdominal muscles and in return can help improve the overall functioning of the spine and back [2].  Start with supine crunches and aim to only have the shoulder blades elevate off the ground.  Start with three sets of 12-15 reps and increase with more reps as needed.
  2. Prone Back Extensions. This is something that can be done at home and in the gym.  A prone lying back extension is great for improving the strength in the lower back muscles, especially when they are weaker.  Start light and aim to lift the top half of the body up for a few seconds at a time.  Perform three sets of this and progress with more time or with a back extension bench and small weight.
  3. Cat/Cow. This involves getting on all fours and arching the spine to the ceiling followed by arching the stomach and belly button down towards the ground.  This movement is great for warming up the spine and for adding movement in areas the body may not naturally move.  The more limber the spine, the less pain one is likely to experience.  Hold each position for about five seconds and aim to perform three sets of 10 cat/cow
  4. Deadlift. A deadlift is for everyone looking to add strength in the lower portion of the body, especially in the lower back.  There should be caution with this exercise due to the chance of exacerbating lower back issues.  For a healthy back, aim to perform three sets of light weight deadlifts and aim to perform more reps 15-20.  If your back side is weak to start, try deadlifting with dumbbells or a lightweight body bar.
  5. Posture. Working on posture can entail a few different exercises.  One way to work posture is to perform a wall stand where your shoulder blades, back of the head, and buttocks all touch the wall while standing.  Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat two more times.  If you have a partner with whom you work, try having the partner gently push on the shoulder blades so they move closer to the wall.  Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat two more times.



[1] http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_your_back_and_neck/chronic-back-pain-overview

[2] http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/lower-back-pain-10/slideshow-exercises

[3] http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/lower-back-pain-10/slideshow-exercises

[4] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/multimedia/back-pain/sls-20076265?s=6

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, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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