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Weight coaching for again ache

Lower back pain is abysmal and all too common: approximately 80 percent of Americans will experience it at some point in their life. But generally accepted methods of managing these ailments, such as avoiding exercise, could actually make the situation worse.

“Your body is designed for short-term survival instincts. So if you are in pain, try to avoid it, ”says Samuel Spinelli, physical therapist, trainer and co-founder of E3 rehab in British Columbia. It may seem logical to avoid exercise-related discomfort by completely eliminating certain movements. However, this can drive you into a cycle of inactivity that over time leads to weaker muscles and more aches and pains, he explains. To break the cycle, even if it hurts a little, you have to exercise – it’s one of the best things to do for your lower back.

When you’ve given up deadlifts and flexed rows, it’s time to get to know each other again. There are many variations that can help you make these exercises easier without putting any strain on your back. Below, Spinelli shares a full body weighted routine designed to build strength, build confidence, and help you move on to other exercises over time.

Spinelli recommends doing this routine three times a week. Start with a set of the following moves. As you get stronger and your discomfort decreases, gradually increase the number of sets and limit them to four. Shoot six to twelve reps in each set, but choose your volume (and weight) by shape: stop when you have 3-4 good reps left. As you become more comfortable with the exercises, you can experiment with stopping a rep or two on the verge of failure.

The key to this workout is taking care of your body. Try to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten, Spinelli recommends, and keep it below three while exercising. If a particular exercise hurts, try decreasing your range of motion, doing fewer sets or repetitions, or reducing the weight. If your pain worsens (to a level of five or higher) as you work through your reps, intensifies after your workout, or persists after 24 hours, you should step back. If you’re rehabilitating an acute injury, consult a physical therapist before beginning this routine.

The movements

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(Photo: Mary Mathis)


(Photo: Mary Mathis)

Sniffer dog

What it does: Gently builds control and lower back strength by challenging your core not to twist and arching at the lumbar spine. Moving your arms and legs slowly between repetitions strengthens the glutes and shoulder muscles, which reduces the stress on your lower back.

How it goes: Start on all fours, with your hands just below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Tighten your core and lift your opposite arm and leg off the floor until they are straight and level with your torso. Hold there briefly (three to five seconds) before placing your hand and knee back on the floor. Repeat for the opposite arm and leg, keeping your hips and shoulders straight. Maintain a neutral spine from the crown of your head to your tailbone. Avoid sagging or arching your back. If this variation is too easy, move from a plank position.

Volume: One to four sets of six to twelve repetitions on each side.

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(Photo: Mary Mathis)


(Photo: Mary Mathis)

Deadbug

What it does: Strengthens the abdominal muscles with the pelvis tucked away, which can reduce stress in the lower back.

How it goes: Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Press your lower back into the floor to fire up your abs. Then, raise both knees until your shins are parallel to the floor. Extend both arms towards the ceiling. Keeping your lower back pressed into the floor, slowly lower one arm back and straighten the other leg. Just lower as far as you can without your lower back lifting off the floor. Return to the starting position, making sure your knees don’t crawl towards your chest. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. If pressing your lower back into the floor is uncomfortable, leave a small arch but keep it even throughout the movement. Gradually work your way towards the ground as you get stronger.

Volume: One to four sets of six to twelve repetitions on each side.

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(Photo: Mary Mathis)


(Photo: Mary Mathis)

Romanian deadlift

What it does: Builds strength in the glutes and hamstrings. This variant offers similar advantages to other deadlift variants, but it is easy on your back because you do not pull the weight off the floor with every repetition. Starting this exercise from above will allow you to build strength without putting any strain on your lower back, and eventually you can move on to traditional deadlifts.

How it goes: Stand in an athletic position with your feet hip-width apart and hold two kettlebells or dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body and arms straight. Choose your weight according to your rep scheme. Start easier than you think and work your way up. To get to the starting position, you should first place your weights on a bench and then position them instead of lifting them straight off the floor. This will help protect your back.

Bend your knees slightly, lean back on your hips, and swing forward at your waist to slowly lower the weights. Let them slide against your thighs and stop when you feel a slight pull in your hamstrings. Choose your depth based on what feels accessible to your body. Return to a standing position and push your glutes upward. To repeat. You should feel your glutes and hamstrings light up during this movement.

Volume: One to four sets of six to twelve repetitions.

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(Photo: Mary Mathis)


(Photo: Mary Mathis)

Three-point dumbbell row

What it does: Strengthens the back, shoulders and arms. This variation on the more traditional curved row puts less strain on the lower back, Spinelli explains, by using three points of contact to provide more support. This allows you to better isolate your middle and upper back muscles without putting any strain on your lower back.

How it goes: Start in a three point pose with your right knee and hand on a bench. Your right hand should be positioned just below your right shoulder and your right knee should be positioned just below your right hip. Your left leg should be straight and your foot should be flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your left hand with your left arm fully extended toward the floor. (Choose your weight according to your rep scheme, as explained above.) Keeping your chin firmly and back flat, pull the weight toward your chest and keep your arm tight against your body. Then, with control, lower the weight until your arm is fully extended. Keep your core occupied and your spine neutral throughout the movement. To repeat.

Volume: One to four sets of six to twelve repetitions on each side.

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(Photo: Mary Mathis)


(Photo: Mary Mathis)


(Photo: Mary Mathis)


(Photo: Mary Mathis)

Mug stationary lunge

What it does: Builds strength through the main muscle groups in the legs. Many other lunge variations involve moving your feet between repetitions, which puts strain on your back as you stabilize yourself in different positions. Also, for people with lower back pain, it is more convenient to hold weight in front of their body than to hold it behind their shoulders or on their shoulders (like back squats).

How it goes: Start with your feet hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell or dumbbells against your chest with both hands in the cup position. Slowly take a large step back with one foot and lower your back knee to an inch or two off the floor. Your legs should both be at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above and to the side with your front ankle. Let your weight be distributed more on your front leg. Then, pass through the metatarsus of your forefoot and push yourself back to a standing position with your legs extended. Bend your front knee without moving your feet to fall on your next rep.

Volume: One to four sets of six to twelve repetitions on each side.

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Main photo: Mary Mathis

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