The Bare Essetials For A Healthy Back Part 2- Strength And Stability

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When it comes to pain, it’s easy to want look for the next big thing to help deal with it.  Folks often ask my thoughts on the new supplement they saw on TV, or the inversion table their friend told them about and if it could help with their aches and pain.  When it comes to managing things on our own, less is usually more.  In other words do as little as needed, rather than as much as possible.  By doing the minimum, but essential amount, the majority of us will be much better off.  This includes focusing daily on joint mobility, strength and stability, and postural awareness.

Part 2.  Strength & Stability

The goal of adding strength and stability is obvious in one sense…to get stronger.  However, beyond just that we want to consider muscular endurance, which has shown to be more effective than strength alone at protecting from future troubles.  Also, certain “stability” exercises can have a negative effects on the spine as well.  This is a measure of how much load a specific movement can have on our joints.  For example, exercises such as the superman or sit-ups do recruit musculature that can create stability, but also add a large compressive load to the spinal joints, which has the potential of causing pain and wear and tear.  Here are two stability exercises that can be performed daily.  They will challenge strength and endurance without adding excessive compression to the joints.

1. Bird-dog

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Begin on your hands and knees (hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips).  Only moving at the shoulder joint, extend your shoulder and arm until it is next to your ear.  If performed correctly no movement should take place at the spine.  Imagine a glass of water is place on your lower back during the exercise.  Don’t spill a drop!  Perform 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

 

2. Side Bridge

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With your right side down bridge up with your right elbow and bent right knee and low leg as your points of contact.  Make sure to keep your hips and pelvis forward until your spine is straight.  Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the left side.

 

Both of these are level one exercises.  Although each can be progressed it is recommend that these are performed correctly every day before advancing.

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