Lower Back SOS: Learn How to Protect and Strengthen Your Spine

Bad form can lead to injury and discomfort during any workout. This area is responsible for mobility, stability, flexibility, as well as stability in any kind of exercise. Many adults use it excessively to compensate for weaker parts of their daily lives, which can lead to lower back stiffness or pain. Protecting your lower back in a proactive manner is important for preventing injury and improving your overall movement. Peloton Tread instructors Andy Speer and Jess Sims share their top tips to protect this area in all aspects of your active lifestyle.

Everyday Movements

Jess says that low back pain is a major problem for adults. This is because of weak cores. Then we overcompensate by using the back inefficiently, which leads to pain. As the first line defense, focus on creating tension in your abs through all of your movements. Andy says that stabilizing your lumbar spine (or your “lower back”) is one of the most important tasks of your abs or obliques. Your lumbar spine will be stabilized and protected by creating tension in your abdominals. It feels like you’re pulling your ribs in and out.

Strength Training

Your lower back’s flexibility during weight-bearing exercises is one of the most important corrections that you will need to make. This can be corrected by practicing a deadlift, or a hip hinge-type movement using a neutral or slightly arched lower spine. Andy says that if you are in a plank position, don’t allow your lower back to arch or fall towards your floor. This indicates that your abs have not been properly engaged. To protect your low back, squeeze your glutes, pull your hips towards the floor and tuck your hips. Jess explains that when your lower back rises off the ground during core exercises in strength classes, it is trying to compensate for weak core. You can prevent lower back pain by reminding yourself that you should keep your lower back pressed against the ground. Andy
says, “Ask yourself whether the movement is appropriate to your body.” “If you feel pain from a particular movement or exercise, you may need to restrict your range of motion or stop using weights until you feel stronger and can perform the activity again.

During a Run

Jess says that you should not run too fast when trying to protect your lower back. Jess says that running too fast can lead to incorrect form and overcompensation by other muscle groups. This can cause pain. You may need to change your pace until you feel comfortable in the areas that are causing you discomfort. Jess says, “Go slow and strengthen your core with strength and Bootcamp class-we always offer modifications for low back intensive moves on the floor, so do not be afraid to use them.” Accept your body and make the necessary modifications to improve your strength. Jess suggests that you push your pelvis forward, rather than letting your hips flare backwards. Jess says that this can cause a painful arch in your lower back. Also, because running is a repetitive motion, you may
eventually feel discomfort.

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