One of the most common ailments an athlete experiences is back pain. Whether it shoots down the region of your leg and buttocks or it’s an irritating soreness that hits the mid to lower areas of the back, a bad back can be an annoying barrier that prevents you from achieving your fitness goals. So, how do you safely train at the gym when you have a bad back?
Start Out Slow
Back pain can happen for a number of reasons. It can be as simple as picking up something off the floor or a wrong move on a nature walk with the kids. It can also come from poor form or repeated high impact exercises. If you lift weights, the bending and heavy lifting can also take a toll on your back over time. If you’re looking to train at the gym with a bad back, you want to start out slow. Keep your weights on the lower end and gradually increase the amount that you lift over time. You also want to focus on your core muscles as they can help reduce injury and provide support to your back muscles.
Enlist the Help of a Back Specialist
Getting sidelined at the gym due to an injury can prove frustrating, especially if you’re unable to work out for weeks at a time. Organizations like AICA Orthopedics can help you to find personalized care for your back pain, so you can recover quickly and get back to your active lifestyle. They also provide an assortment of non-surgical and surgical options that will allow your back to heal and you manage the pain.
Learn the Proper Techniques
If you’ve suffered a previous back injury, you may want to take a look at your form. A great way to learn the proper techniques is through a certified trainer. This professional has gone through extensive training and can offer tips on the right stance and arm movements. A trainer at the gym will also be able to show you how to use each piece of equipment to the best of your ability. If you’re recovering from an injury, they may also be able to provide alternative exercises that can protect the back or increase its strength. Although it may cost additional money to seek the assistance of a trainer, it can be worth every penny if they can prevent you from re-injuring your back.
Incorporate Other Back-Friendly Exercises
Whether your training consists of lifting weights or running, you want to incorporate other back-friendly exercises into your fitness routine. Workouts such as stair climbing, biking, swimming, walking and stretching can keep the back feeling limber and relaxed. The activities also give your back a much needed break from the excessive pounding and strain that you put your body through during training. Because you use different muscles, varying your exercise routine also allows you to strengthen your core muscles. This is especially important, as the core of the body is what assists you in reducing back pain.
Take Time to Rest
Although you may want to shed pounds and get in better shape, your body needs time to rest in between workouts. You can prevent back pain by developing a plan that allows you to fit in cardio, stretching and weights into your training schedule. Include two or more days of rest in between exercising. If you suffer from reccurring back pain, you also want to listen to your body. Twinges, discomfort and pain are signs that you need to rest. You can still stay limber and in shape with walking and stretching exercises.
Find the Necessary Support
A back specialist and a certified trainer are excellent support resources when you want to train with a back injury. But you may also need other support mechanisms, such as a back brace. Whether your injury stems from improper lifting, strained muscles, genetics, arthritis or an awkward movement, a back brace can provide support to the weakened or injured muscles. Rigid back braces are produced with a more serious injury in mind and restrict a person’s movement. Soft braces are usually constructed with elastic. As a person moves, the brace stabilizes the muscles as a person goes about their busy day.
For anyone who has ever dealt with back pain, you know how quickly the discomfort can take control of your life. But if you’re looking to train, you can still stay in shape and stay aware of your back pain. The above tips will also prove helpful in strengthening your body and preventing future back injuries.