Fact: stronger back muscles generally mean less back pain.
Fact: most powerful athletic movements and those occasional heavy tasks around the house and garden all require a strong back to perform well and safely.
This is one of our go-to back strengthening exercises: the simple prone back extension.
This exercise can be done on the floor, or over a swiss ball, or in the gym using a few different pieces of equipment (and if you want some advice in this regard, we are familiar with pretty much every piece of gym equipment there is!)
The aim is generally to build more endurance, as being able to hold an extended position against gravity for a prolonged period has been shown to reduce the risk of future back pain. Basically those who can hold this position longer have less risk of future back pain. A test called the Biering-Sorensen Test involves keeping the whole torso from the hips up, held up horizontally off the edge of a table, with the legs secured – and staying there as long as possible. The average person can manage over 2min!
We suggest starting with shorter durations – possibly 5 to 10 seconds, repeated 5 to 10 time – and using the equipment already mentioned. You can then build up to 30 to 60 second holds but we would suggest you can probably drop the numbers of reps. As with all strengthening exercises, you should work into fatigue, so you are struggling with the last repetition or two.
You can, of course, make the exercise harder by adding resistance. In the below video we show you how you can progress from the basics to more challenging versions, using the swiss ball (an inexpensive piece of fitness equipment). In the gym, you might use a weight plate but we recommend exercising caution with this.
If you’d like us to assist you with the process of strengthening your back – possibly by supplementing this basic exercise with a range of others – we are happy to help. Give us a call!