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Save yourself from a lifetime of lower-back pain with these four simple gym exercises

Posted: 28 November 2003

When your lower-back muscles are weak, you are more likely to suffer from nagging pain, bad posture or below-par running. To keep this critical ‘core’ area strong, you need to strengthen and stretch the erector spinae muscle group. The following four exercises, done two or three times a week, will do just that. The entire session should take you no more than 10 minutes – and could save you from a lifetime of problems.

Back Extensions
Lie on your stomach on a weight bench, with your hips at the edge of the bench and your torso hanging over. Cross your arms behind your neck, and bend forwards at the waist as far as you can while keeping your back flat. Slowly raise your torso until your legs and upper body are in a straight line again. Do two sets of 10 repetitions. To add resistance, hold a 10-pound weight against your chest. Avoid this exercise if you have history of lower-back pain.

Ball Bridges
Lie on your back with your arms at your side and your feet on a stability ball. Slowly lift your buttocks off the ground until your trunk and legs are in a straight line. Hold this position, and squeeze your lower back muscles and buttocks for two seconds. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.

Lie on your stomach and place your hands on the floor near your shoulders, in the press-up position. Slowly push your upper body off the floor by straightening your arms. Keep your hips on the floor. Hold this position for three seconds. Relax your arms back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.

Seated Rows
Sit on a large stability ball (or even a chair) facing an elastic stretching band in the gym. Grab the elastic with both hands. Sit upright, and pull it towards you. Bring your hands to your rib cage and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for one second, and take care not to bend forwards or backwards at the waist. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.

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Greetings from Portugal

I have an ache on what feels like a bone in my left buttock. Its a result of a speedwork session. It hurts even when I walk, and it also hurts if I press on it. It is slightly to the left of my left buttock - in the head of the bone - . You know what is it? Are there any stretches or rehabilitation exercises that I can do, and is it safe to run? I would be very grateful to hear from anyone for any advice or similar experiences.

BTW: No more speedwork and its hard to run ....

Rod Silva

Posted: 12/05/2004 at 16:38

Hi Rod,

It is from this bone that the hamstrings originate. It may well be that you've aggrevated them with your speedwork.

I'd try gentle hamstring stretches and icing/massaging the area. (Try a frozen orange/satsuma and sit on it - will do both at the same time)

Posted: 12/05/2004 at 19:53

Greetings HH

thanks a lot, I'll try that and let you know


Posted: 13/05/2004 at 10:29

I frequently suffer lower back pain particularly when doing speed/hill work or shorter races (after 15mins of hard work). It is always accompanied by tightening in my thighs which shortens my stride and slows me considerably. The pain eventually eases and I can run through it after around an hour but net affect is i frequently cannot run at the pace (or heart rate) i need to improve speed endurance. Long runs (20mile plus) are never affected probably because i start easier. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
Posted: 09/11/2005 at 22:23

Just done the exact same thing. Turns out to be the point where the hamstrings attatch under the gluteals. Had a massage and ultrasound which has helped and keep applying ice.

Get well soon

Posted: 16/08/2008 at 18:44

hi there

sounds pretty similar to what i have got during a speedwork session on wed and within the first few steps got a severe sharp pain on my lower back (on the bony bit), loosened off during the session which I completed. Since then still really sore despite taking many paikillers, deepheat, ice etc. Not sore when sitting still but agony when standing especially when first standing up. Also have some numbness going down my left leg and involantary twitching of the muscles. Too sore to consider running. Wondering if it might be a slipped disc.??? morag

Posted: 16/08/2008 at 19:06

Morag, it could be that, but that's sort of a worse case scenario.

It could be sciatica which can be caused when muscles become tight and press on the nerve. The pirformis muscle springs to mind (the one under your gluteals) because when that becomes tight it presses on said nerve. You can stretch it by laying on your back, bend your knees up and put the heal of the affected side on the knee of the other leg and pull the knee in towards your chest. Sorry if i havent explained that very well but i'm sure if your search for stretches for the pirformis muscle on the internet you'll find a diagram.

Hope this helps

Posted: 16/08/2008 at 19:26

hi timbo, many many thanks, when looking at more info about piriformis syndrome it seems to be very acurate in describing exactly what it feels like. Will keep going with the stretches and hope for some improvement

VERY SORRY RODRIGO  for taking over your post, I had no replies when posting a similar problem.

Posted: 17/08/2008 at 08:47

Hi.. i hav a back pain... i cant walk 4 a certain distance.... nd hav bone pain in my left buttock... wen i try 2 sleep, my back bones tak 10mts 2 com back 2 original position ..., (i.e) it taks 10mts 2 becom flat on t surface... am jus 21yrs old... can i knw wat may b t problm 4 ts?... also tel wats t solution 4 ds problm?

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 07:54

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