Back exercises are valuable, not only to alleviate back pain, but also to avoid back pain altogether. Physicians tell us that much back pain is a result of weak core muscles.
Define Core Muscles
Core muscles are your abdominals, pelvis, and back. These muscles are at the core of your body. They help support and give strength to the body.
Back Exercise with a Fitness Ball
Many back exercises for core muscles can be done with a fitness ball. A fitness ball, sometimes called an exercise ball, is a large, inflatable ball on which you can sit or lie. Such reputable places as Mayo Clinic offer online instructions for core back exercises with a fitness ball.
Fitness balls come in at least three basic sizes. To find your best size for most back exercises, sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. The ball that puts your knees at a right angle in this position is the one for you. A firm ball will give more difficult exercise, a softer ball will provide easier back exercise.
Here are just three of the back exercises you can do with your fitness ball.
Arm Bridge: Lie on your back across a fitness ball. Stretch your arms backwards over your head, bridging your hands to the floor. Continue this back exercise until you feel the stretch action in your lower back. Hold as long as you can.
Leg Bridge: Lie on your back on the floor. Stretch your legs up onto the fitness ball. Tightening the abdominal muscles, raise buttocks and hips off the floor to form the bridge with your back. Take three deep, slow breaths while holding the bridge. Lower buttocks and hips, and then repeat this back exercise.
Side Stretch: Begin this back exercise by lying on your side on the floor. Place the fitness ball between your legs from knees down. Straighten the arm on the floor, and rest your head on it. Tightening your abdominal muscles, and with the ball still between your legs, raise both legs a few inches from the floor. Hold the position while taking three slow, deep breaths. Lower your legs and repeat. Do this back exercise on both sides.
Other back exercises you can do with a fitness ball include such as reverse crunches; abdominal raising of the ball; hand-walking while lying on ball; and abdominal exercise while sitting on the ball.
All of these will strengthen core muscles – essential to avoiding or relieving back pain.
Elsewhere on this website, we offer specific instructions for a variety of low back exercises and other back exercises. Most of these require no special equipment. Most are free and can be done at home.