lower back pain and "safe" exercises
In the past 10 years I have noticed that I have nagging back pain basically every day. It is worst in the morning and gets better as the day goes on. While I think this is probably because of a number of factors such as "sleeping wrong," bad posture at my desk at work, and also from bad lifting form in the past, it doesn't really matter what the cause is. The fact of the matter is that I have lower back pain now and much of this probably comes from my age as I am in my 40s.
Having lower back pain is not an excuse to stop exercising. In fact, stopping exercising can and almost certainly will make it worse. However, you have to be a bit more careful with what you do when you find yourself in this position in life and that is what I have been focusing on. Here are a couple of exercises that I have discovered that according to kinesiologists and sport fitness doctors (not just some dude on YouTube that is selling supplements) and basically anyone can do these.
Everyone wants to have strong abs and a lot of people have a lot of different ways of getting this done. There is no one "correct" way to work your abs but especially if you are a normie like me or even moreso if you are a johnny come lately at the gym. You should probably avoid any ab exercises that are going to extend you lower back. According to sport scientists, you can work almost all of your ab muscles without ever straining your lower back. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by doing crunches where your lower back never leaves the floor.
Is the dude on the isolation rack doing weighted situps going to get more gains than you? Well of course he is but he is also likely a lot younger than you and works out all the time. He is also going to almost certainly hurt his lower back at some point in life and will end up doing crunches in the future anyway after his lower back gives out.
These sorts of pictures annoy me because the model in the picture almost certainly does a lot more exercises than the simple ones like wall sits.
Wall sits are something that looks pretty silly when you first see them but if you are a naysayer I strongly encourage you to try them because they look like something super simple when you are an observer, but once you get in that position and 12 seconds later your legs start to shake you will see what it is that I am talking about. I can't even say for sure what this isometric exercise even does for you but I do know that you WILL feel the burn in your legs a lot faster than you think you are going to.
This exercise also completely eliminates the lower back from the equation based on the fact that your back is flat against a wall. This can also be done with a Pilates ball for easier movement and less accidentally falling down.
Incline almost anything with weights
One thing I was a bit shocked to find out was that although it is less common, lifting weights, especially heavy weights, while standing actually has a fantastic chance to accidentally engage your lower back. This might not even be noticeable when you are doing it until you already have a problem. I discovered this as I got older and I would just be doing something simply like standing curls or shoulder raises and all of a sudden I would feel a bit of a shock in my lower back. This is because whether you like it or not, your body will transfer stress to other parts of your body when the muscle group in question is struggling.
When you do nearly any exercise in a seated position you eliminate the lower back from being part of the equation. Sure, it might take longer to get into position but seriously, you should really spend more time on planning your exercises so that you don't end up in a situation like I am in and have lower back pain all the time because you did things incorrectly when you were young and invincible.
Doing seated weights has the added benefit of isolating the intended muscle group much more effectively than standing anyway. It also eliminates your ability to cheat your way through exercises, which is where most damage ends up happening via bad form anyway.
Through decades of being a half-assed bodybuilder I have managed to do a lot of things incorrectly and some of those things have resulted in me having chronic pain that I would have rather avoided. If you are young, you really should consider taking these sorts of things to heart because I know that you believe it wont happen to you because you are young and unbreakable. We all break at some point, even the best of the best in the world at bodybuilding.
I think it would be wise for people to plan ahead and realize that even though it seems like an eternity away, you will get up there in years at some point in your life. I can promise you that you will regret it later if you don't take some sort of precautions when you are young and healthy.
If you are already older like I am then you need to be considerably more cautious than the youngbloods in the gym. You are far more breakable and probably have a lot more responsibilities than the 20 somethings in the gym. Be safe, but still be fit!
I didn't go to school for this. I learned almost all that I know about health and fitness by doing a lot of things the wrong way in life. I hope that the information I provide with my decades of experience can help others to avoid the mistakes I made and also to follow the successes I have had in my 30 year journey of fitness and even a bit of fatness in the middle there