Core strength is a crucial component of the lower back pain puzzle. Strengthening the core muscles is something that we can all add into our workouts to help prevent lower back pain.
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Back pain can take a heavy toll on an individual. Thankfully developing strong core musculature is the best predictor of preventing back pain. That’s why we have created this guide, to give you the tools to develop your core and help you prevent and relieve your back pain. Let’s have a look at the exercises you can use, along with the methodology behind the selection of these exercises and finally a core workout you can try today.
Having a strong lower back and core musculature is proven to be one of the best ways to prevent lower back pain(1). As our lifestyles become more and more sedentary, it’s crucial to find methods that allow you to stay fit, healthy and pain free. One of the most effective ways to help back pain is rather counter intuitive, and thats to develop a strong core.
Back pain is a very much debated topic in the health and fitness industry but one thing is for sure, building your core musculature can only be good for your lower back pain (if done appropriately and according to your current abilities).
Not only will core work build your core musculature, but it will also create some movement practice into your week. Movement is the strongest anti-dote to lower back pain, so this style of core work is extremely effective at helping people with lower back pain.
Developing a strong core can be done in conjunction with full body resistance training or by itself. If you have time to do 2-3 full body resistance training sessions with core work integrated into your sessions, its certain you’ll be able to see great results and hopefully ease your back pain slightly.
Whether you do your core work within a full body resistance session or as a stand alone work out it should be developed through targeting four movement patterns.
Applying stress periodically to these four movement patterns at an appropriate difficulty will develop an extremely robust and strong core musculature over time. It’s really that simple.
Pick exercises which target these movement patterns, and apply stress to them through sets and repetitions and you’ll be able to build a strong core that might not only help get rid of your back pain but prevent you from getting it again. Exercises by no means have to be lower back exercises, although these should be incorporated, building an exercise routine should put emphasis on the whole body. Movement is medicine for people who have lower back pain so treating, yes treating back pain medically can be attempted, but it’s not a long term behavioural intervention.
Using progressive overload is one of the most effective techniques to make sure you see good results from your training. Progressive overload involves adding difficulty to a movement over time. This can be through weights, reps, sets, seconds, all these can be added to increase the difficulty of a movement.
Developing a strong core musculature cannot be done over night, it will likely take 3-4 months of consistent exercising and resistance training to start to see the good impact of the training you’ve been doing. However, this isn’t work you’ll regret doing, having a strong core will not only help eradicate back pain but also make your day to day that much easier.
Make sure you start at the beginning, if you are just getting into any sort of strength training only use exercises which are labelled beginner. If you are not used to complex or challenging exercises that you can’t perform with good technique you may actually make your back pain worse.
In terms of methods used to develop a strong core you can use a huge variety of lower back exercise, styles of exercises (static hold etc) and equipment set ups. You can do it with all bodyweight exercises or a full gym of equipment. Let’s have a look at a range of exercises you can use to strengthen your core to help relieve your back pain. These contain movements from all the key movement patterns that are essential to developing a strong core.
Complete 3 rounds
Complete 3 rounds
In all likelihood it will. Having a strong core is one of the best predictors of not getting back pain and has also strengthening the core has been shown to treat lower back pain(2). It’s hard to say at what point it will start to help, but developing a strong core will help prevent lower back pain in the future. Remember to consult with a doctor before attempting any new exercise regime, especially if you have pain. You may want to get out of pain before starting to develop a strong core. Make sure you’re not doing any exercises that cause pain and always work round any injuries you have.
This is a tough question without a definitive answer. All we know for sure is that having a strong core can prevent lower back pain. But this doesn’t mean that having a weak core causes lower back pain. Having a weak core might correlate with being very sedentary which could cause lower back pain. Chronic back pain is a complex issue that is being heavily researched at the moment. Trying to ease back pain or reduce low back pain will be very specific to you, you’ll need to get advice from medical professionals and attempt multiple behavioural interventions.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.