Poor endurance in your core muscles leaves you unable to maintain good sitting and standing postures for extended periods Failure to maintain an appropriate posture can cause increased muscle imbalances around the spine and can be a precursor to pain and injury. When training your back and doing lower back exercises it is crucial to both increase strength in your back but it is super important to train your core muscles to maintain this strength and posture control over long periods of time and under load. Your back has to work to support you all day every day, whatever you are doing and whatever position you are in. Therefore, 3 set of 10 reps with long breaks in-between each set may not build you this endurance.
Increasing the endurance of deep back and abdominal muscles with the intention of increasing spinal stability and optimal positional awareness will in many circumstances ultimately reduce low back pain.
Squats And Deadlifts
Many may consider squats and deadlifts to be dangerous exercises for the lower back. ‘Yes’ heavy load with these exercises especially done with poor form will most likely lead to injury sooner or later. But, ultimately squats and deallifts are great exercises for neuromuscular training of your body to learn correct body positioning whilst under load. After all it is very functional to what we do everyday. They are functional exercises and fantastic at strengthening your big prime movers as well as the deep stabilisers of your spine.
If you are starting out doing squats and deadlifts for the first time then you should always have a movement expert (Physiotherapist or Accredited Exercise Physiologist) assess your technique. As a home exercise, controlled unweighted deadlifts and squats can be worked into a program with your other isolated deep abdominal and core exercises.
Lower back exercises could be done every day if you can incorporate this into your ‘life routine’, as endurance comes with both training frequency and how you train throughout each session. Some potential options and variations if you aren’t quite ready for squats and deadlifts include:
- Wall sits
- Swiss ball wall squats
- Swiss ball bridging exercises
These exercises use similar muscle activation as squats and deadlifts and can be worked on with the intention of progressing or simply as a variation on one of your training days.
When Should I Do My Lower Back Exercises?
Your intervertebral discs are at their “fullest” first thing in the morning. That is, they are fully hydrated and are larger and less flexible after a night of rest. There is more stress on the disc being fully hydrated in the morning meaning there is a higher risk of injury when the disc is under load. The risk is obviously higher if the disc is under load and the supporting muscle system is lacks strength and endurance. For this reason, exercises that place significant load on the discs may be best performed later in the day when the discs are more pliable and have less internal pressures.
For more information what exercises are best for you and your back talk to one of our highly experienced Physiotherapist or Accredited Exercise Physiologist.