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Low back pain, induced by gym shenanigans (not as boring as it sounds 😉)

Lately I have gotten very carried away with the emotional environmental blogs,🌳 which I don’t think you can ever have too many of.

So, we’re switching it up, with another important topic: physical health and understanding what the signals your body are giving you, mean.

Low back pain is a very common signal.

It can have many different causes,

and it can be very frustrating not to know what the reason for it is or how to fix it.

The discomfort also might be “small enough” to not bother to go and see a doctor.

(At this point, disclaimer: I am not a doctor or healthcare professional, please consult your doctor for any type of advice.)

But often, with light to moderate back pain, that is not congenital and not so severe that it would intervene with your regular day to day life, you might be able to fix it yourself.🦾

There are many reasons that may be a cause of low back pain, one of these

reasons might be mistakes that are made in the gym, like:

Performing exercises with improper form:

A lot of the time people perform exercises in the gym that are very probing on the low back if the correct muscles are not engaged or the form is off.

Especially with exercises that are weighted like squats or exercises that on top of that are performed in a flat back position like bent-over rows and deadlifts.

In order to protect you lower back, here are some tips for these specific exercises:

The Squat:🏋️‍♂️

Practice without weights first.

If you are inexperienced, make sure that you are using a squat rack and that you pick a weight that you can do at least 8-12 repetitions with, so that the weight is not too heavy.

If you are unsure, ask someone to spot you.

Keep each knee in line with your toes, to protect your knees from being forced into awkward angles during the squat.

Move your hands in a natural motion with the squat movement or hold them in front of your body.

In the downward (concentric) phase, initiate the movement by hinging at the hips, so driving the hips and gluteus backwards.

Activate your glutes and feel them working. I you have trouble achieving a mind muscle connection, feel free to touch the muscles you are trying to work when contracting them.

When in the squat position, keep your back flat and the shins parallel to the floor.

Don’t stop contracting those glute muscles to protect your lower back!

You can take a short pause in this lowered position, adjust your stance if something feels off and then by consciously contracting the muscles again, lift yourself back up into a standing position, with the strength of your glutes.

The deadlift:🏋️‍♀️

To practice, use a dowel or broomstick.

Keep your feet about hip width distance apart.

Slightly bend your knees and engage your glutes and hamstrings.

Keep your arms straight with the dowel resting in front of your upper thighs, engage the muscles of your shoulder blades to pull your shoulders back.

Lower your upper body towards the floor, keeping your back and chest flat.

To move back up (eccentric phase) consciously check if your glutes and hamstrings are engaged and pull yourself back up with the strength of THOSE muscles and keep your upper body nice and flat with an open chest.

The bent-over row:🏋️‍♂️

To practice, use light or no weight.

Position your feet about hip width apart.

Slightly bend your knees and engage your glutes and hamstrings.

Engage the muscles of your shoulder blades to pull the shoulders back.

Lower your upper body down into a parallel to the floor position.

Keep your knees bent, glutes and hamstrings engaged and your upper body flat.

You are now in the starting position to perform the row.

Lower only the arms with the weights down until your shoulder blades are slightly protracted (separated) and feel the pull of the muscles.

Engage and really think about the muscles of your shoulder blades and the muscles (latissimus dorsi) in your back.

Pause for a second and focus on contracting them.

Now use your arms as levers to pull the weights up towards your torso until your arms are next to your upper body, bent in a 90degree angle.

Now perform a few practice trials with light weights first and really feel your back and shoulder muscles contract in every phase.

You can also pause and hold the end concentric position of the movement to intensify the feeling of your muscle’s engagement.

And don’t forget, just because this exercise isn’t focused on your lower body, your glutes and hamstrings must be engaged to support and protect your upper body and back.

✨Practice each exercise a few times and feel into them.

✨You don’t have to read these tips like a manual, but if something feels off, you can go through them to maybe find what is missing to your perfect form in a specific exercise.

✨You can take time before each repetition. It is not a race, check your form and think about the muscles you are trying to work.

✨To exercise well you need to learn to do so first. And if you have proper from you may avoid getting low back pain all together 😁.

✨And don’t forget to always stretch out your back, perform some gentle cat cows to wake and loosen it up.

🌈If you already have back problems, try to avoid performing weighted exercises in the first few hours after getting up.

🌈There are little sacks between your vertebrae, that help absorb the shock in your spine during every movement. These are filled with liquid.

🌈While you are sleeping, the spinal discs fill up with fluid while you are lying down, which is why they are fullest in the morning.

🌈It is advised, that you be gentle and extra careful in the morning and not jump right into heavy exercises where the back is heavily involved, but instead perform some light stretches and movement for your spine.

🍃 Ok, relax your brain now😊

Good on you, if you made it this far. I will post a video on Instagram to show the proper for each of these exercises, so that you have a visual.

I know that it’s easier to see it, but I think it is good to be able to read some step by step instructions with details you might miss when watching a video.

🌳🍃And remember: A healthy body is the product of a healthy environment.

So do somethin’ good for nature every time you do something good for yourself as well.

See ya, for more shenanigans on Monday 😎

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