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3 Body Weight Exercises for Your Back Pain

Back pain affects roughly 4 in 10 people according to a CDC study in 2018. A lot of it comes from our habit of sitting for long periods of time, whether at home or in the office. In a different study by the CDC, about 1 in 4 people were reported to spend too long sitting every day, roughly eight hours or more. Those numbers came out before the advent of remote work in 2020, making it even less necessary to get up and move.

In order to combat those pesky back pains, it’s important to focus on exercises that don’t just stretch your back out. Back pains can come as a result of issues with your lower back directly or your hamstring muscles. In this blog, we’ll focus on the movements you can do to strengthen and increase mobility in all your lower body muscles in part 2 of our blog series on back pain relief: body-weight training.

Body Weight Exercise vs. Weightlifting

Body weight exercise is a form of anaerobic mobility exercise relying solely on your body weight as the resistance. This form of training helps to build stability in the muscles and enhance flexibility.

One of the benefits of doing body weight training is how little equipment is needed. You won’t need to mess around with weights, and for these exercises, you won’t need anything else either, just yourself. Because of this, another benefit is that you’re very unlikely to put yourself in harm’s way or risk injury.

Young athletic woman doing lunges

Body weight exercises that focus on core strength, such as planks and mountain climbers, can help improve your posture by strengthening the muscles that support your spine. The exercises we mention here will also target your hamstrings to help loosen those muscles that can contribute to muscle tightness.

Here are 3 body weight exercises to help you relieve back pain and hamstring tightness:

1. Lunges

Lunges can help improve lower body strength and flexibility, which can help with posture and hamstring tightness. They involve a deep stretch in the hamstrings and other leg muscles so you can improve your flexibility. You’ll also reduce the risk of tightness and injury in these muscles. Lunges are primarily a body weight exercise, but you can focus on strength training in your lower body and core by adding weighted resistance through free weights or resistance bands.

When doing lunges, form is important. Make sure your knees don’t go over your planted foot. Also, keep your posture straight and don’t slouch or drape over the movement with your upper body.

For more help with lunge exercises, check out our blog post on lunges with resistance bands.

Young athletic woman doing glute bridges

2. Glute bridges

Here’s how to perform a glute bridge:

  1. To perform a glute bridge, lay on your back with you knees bent.
  2. Perform the movement by engaging your gluteal muscles and raising your pelvis upward.
  3. Raise it high enough that you’ve straightened your body from your shoulders down to your knees.
  4. Hold this position for a few seconds, then return back to the ground. Repeat this movement for a set number of reps.

While this exercise primarily focuses on your glutes, glute bridges are great for targeting the hamstrings while also improving core strength and posture. When you strengthen your glutes and hamstrings with this exercise, your posture will improve with the stability you’ll feel in your lower back.

3. Planks

Planks are a great exercise to strengthen the entire core, which can improve posture and reduce back pain. They are a common endurance exercise taking the focus off of lifting and onto how long you can hold weight.

There are many different kinds of planks you can do. The most basic of them is to lay face down and prop your body up with your arms, supporting yourself on your elbows. Keep your posture straight from your neck down to your ankles. Hold this position for as long as you are able up to 1-2 minutes.

Planks have many different starting forms. You can also add different aspects of movement into the plank rather than just staying stationary. For a full detail of different plank styles supplemented with resistance bands for enhanced strength, check out our Training Room.

Stroops trainer Aly doing loop plank ups

Wrap It Up

Body weight exercise and calisthenics are a great compromise between flexibility and mobility training and the more intense sphere of weightlifting. You kind of get the best of both worlds. You’re going to increase your strength by working against the resistance of your own body. At the same time, those muscles that you engage, from your core to your limbs, will achieve better flexibility and stability with your workout. Your result is a healthier feeling in your movement, less pain, and looser muscles all around.

Stay tuned for our final part of this blog series combatting back pain.


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