According to the American Council on Exercise 50% of women will experience low back pain, but the good news is those women who exercise experience back pain with less frequency and sometimes not at all. Not only should you do lower back exercises to prevent low back pain and stay strong for pregnancy or holding a toddler, but to strengthen the back for mommyhood. A strong back leads to a strong core and slimmer waistline. Remember: your back is part of your core and helps bring in the tummy. If the only thing supporting your back and your abs is your spine, those sensitive disks and connective tissue are going to be strained. And strain = pain.
A simple cue of the transverse abdominis, one of the deepest core muscles, will better your posture and help create a strong back. Our core muscles act as a back brace, so back and abdominal strengthening is key. Activate your core by using this transverse abdominis exercise.
Here are 4 back exercises you can do a few times a week for a few minutes.
- Blade - activate your core, touch fingertips in front of chest with elbows parallel. Without arching your back (keep core activated) act as if you would touch your elbows behind you. Squeeze the upper back.
- Rotator - activate your core, place elbows at hips with forearms open. Without arching your back (keep core activated) act as if you would touch the back of your palms together behind you. Squeeze the upper/middle back.
- Lat pull down - activate your core, place arms over your head with palms forward. Without arching your back draw your elbows slightly behind your hips. Squeeze the middle of your back.
- Hyperextension - lie facedown with your hands to your sides. Lift your chest, your knees and your feet off the ground simultaneously. Hold for 10 seconds and release.
You may begin to experience back pain that you have not experienced before. Stretching and strengthening will you help you decrease your back pain (of course assuming you have back pain and no underlying issue). As a mom you might be front loaded – as in pregnant, or front loaded – as in breastfeeding.
Pelvic tilts are an excellent core exercise and help relieve lower back pain:
- Lean on your elbows with the crook of your knees bent.
- Inhale and as your exhale perform the pelvic tilt. It is a small move and you won’t really see much movement in your tummy. Continue to pull without letting your stomach “pooch out”. Your hip bones will move or roll in the direction of the lower part of your rib cage.
- Remember to use your core, not your buttocks or thighs. If you feel your lower body contracting, release completely and try again.