Five Ways to Toughen Your Spine

Most symptoms of lower back show up because of your inability to produce and/or absorb…

Most symptoms of lower back show up because of your inability to produce and/or absorb sufficient force. Even in situations where you’ve herniated a disc, the bottom line is that the reason you hurt when you sit, for example, is because your body is unable to absorb or distribute the force produced by sitting.

So, here are five ways to create a tougher, more resilient spine.

Brace your self. There’s a lot of argument in the personal training and physical therapy professions about whether you should consciously contract your abdominal muscles when you lift or do some type of physical work. My position is this: if you’ve had back pain or surgery, the muscles you need the most are not under your conscious control (multifidus being one of them) and these same muscles are shut off following the injury and do not re-engage without some help. So, yes, you need to learn how to brace your self using your “core” muscles. The simplest Current Health Issues Articles way to learn this is to ask a friend to punch you, gently, in the abdomen. You’ll reflexively brace your abdomen. Or, light a candle, hold it about 12 inches in front of you and try to blow it out. Notice what happens in your body. The tightening in our abdomen is bracing. Then, practice creating that same tension or feeling without actually being punched. Adjust the intensity of the effort based on the difficulty of the task. If you have to pick up something heavy off the floor, brace a lot. If you’re sitting at your desk, brace a little.

Sit less; walk more. The more you move, the better. The enemy of the spine is static loading: sitting, standing. When you walk,use your understanding How To Become Healthy And Strong In One Month of bracing. This turns walking into an endurance exercise for your spine. Get a pedometer and aim for 10000 steps per day.

Stop doing sit ups. Technically, if you can perform a sit up correctly, which virtually no one can, it’s risky but not terrible (and that’s a stand alone article). But why do that to your self when you can perform a plank and get not only great abdominal training but also arms and buttocks?

Squat. The best friend of the spine is your butt and one of the best ways to build a stronger butt is to perform squats. You can start, usually, with body weight as resistance and then progress to above body weight. You should feel fatigue in your legs and spine between 10 and 15 repetitions. If you don’t, it’s time to increase the load or speed.

Plant your self with the plank. The plank is a great drill for improving spinal muscle endurance and it’s spine friendly with low levels of disc pressure. Start with 30 seconds and work your way up to 120 seconds.

If you can practice these things, your spine will get tougher. And a tougher spine is tougher to hurt.