Mind your back

With th­ese ex­er­cises, you can im­prove back strength and re­duce pain, writes Siob­han Byrne

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - FITNESS -

OVER the next few weeks our fo­cus will be on back health — how train­ing can be ben­e­fi­cial if you suf­fer with a weak back; the most im­por­tant things to know, and how you can de­velop strength through proper train­ing and good pos­ture in or­der to be pain free.

As a per­sonal trainer I have worked with peo­ple who have back is­sues. With ap­pro­pri­ate train­ing they be­gin to suf­fer less as their back gets stronger. But it’s not just about work­ing out.

There is a big dif­fer­ence be­tween work­ing out and train­ing. You may be a sweat junkie and end up work­ing out in the gym do­ing what­ever ex­er­cises you are able to and the higher the in­ten­sity the bet­ter. But when you are train­ing, you should be de­vel­op­ing strength or bal­ance in the body, or both.

If you suf­fer with back is­sues it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand while train­ing what you are do­ing and how you are go­ing to go about it. Ran­domly do­ing ex­er­cises will not greatly im­prove your back is­sues and may even add to your problems.

What to avoid

Over the years some peo­ple may find their back health has de­te­ri­o­rated and this may be as a re­sult of in­jury, bad pos­ture, de­gen­er­a­tive is­sues or even bad form, not just while ex­er­cis­ing but on day-to-day tasks.

The first thing you must as­cer­tain is how se­ri­ous the is­sue is and if you haven’t been to a doc­tor I rec­om­mend that this is your first step.

Next up, stop do­ing the things that hurt. You would be sur­prised at the daily ac­tiv­i­ties you’re do­ing that ex­ac­er­bate your back is­sues, from bend­ing in­stead of squat­ting when pick­ing things up to ly­ing in bed on your front in­stead of your back or side, which may put ex­tra pres­sure on your lower back. Take note of daily tasks that ir­ri­tate your back, such as sit­ting down for too long or slouch­ing on the couch or at your desk.

The four ex­er­cises fea­tured this week will help pro­mote good back health.

Do each ex­er­cise 12 times be­fore mov­ing on to the next one. When you have com­pleted each ex­er­cise, that is one set. Catch your breath be­fore mov­ing on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times

a week

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