If you have back pain, you’re not the only one. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old. And what is often the cause of that pain?
Fixing bad posture is like repairing the foundation of the house that is your body. Bad posture can lead to pain, headaches, bone and joint discomfort, and more. Good posture supports your spine, neck, back, and more – all critical parts of the body, especially as you age. Practicing good posture prevents injuries, strengthens muscles, and leaves you feeling healthy and strong.
Here are 5 back exercises to fix bad posture and stop back pain once and for all.
- Core exercises
The origin of good posture doesn’t come from your back at all – it comes from your core muscles, aka your abdominals. The more you build those up, the less back pain you will experience.
A simple core exercise to help strengthen your core is the same one your gym teacher required in eighth grade: bicycles. The slower and more intentionally you complete them, the better.
- Wall Angels
This one is good for both flexibility and strength.
How to do it: Stand against a wall so your entire back is flush with it. Engage your core and raise your arms all the way up while keeping your ribcage down. Your goal is to extend your arms all the way up while touching the wall, but without arching your back. When you do this right, you should feel your mid-back and abs working to steady your spine. This builds up those muscles and teaches your body the correct way to stand at the same time.
- Hip Hinge
Your mantra for this one is, “Hips back, hands high.” It gives you mobility and (again) engages the core, which is the origin of all the goodness when it comes to good posture and stopping back pain.
How to do it: Stand up with your arms all the way above you. Hinge at your hip, bending forward while maintaining your hands high above your head. This stretches your thoracolumbar fascia in the middle of your back while simultaneously requiring you to engage your core so you don’t fall forward. Try to do at least 10 slow reps at a time.
- Farmer’s Carry
This one requires heavy weights, but it’s one of the best exercises there is for developing good posture and ending back pain.
Much like putting an apple on your head for good posture, carrying something very heavy basically forces you to have good posture. Trying to carry something heavy when you have bad posture is extremely uncomfortable; you can’t really do it.
How to do it: carry two heavy weights (of equal weight), one in each hand. Stand tall with your shoulders back, and try not to move your spine. This helps build up your muscles while also teaching your body what truly straight, aligned posture feels like. Try to maintain this feeling while doing all the exercises, as well as simply going about your day.
- Bridge Pose
This helps build your glutes as well as improves your endurance when it comes to your back muscles.
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet flat with weight in your heels, and use your core and glutes to lift your butt off the floor until you’ve made a 45 degree angle. Continue to lift and lower, and for an extra challenge, hold yourself up in the upper position while lifting and straightening one leg at a time. This exercise will build both strength and endurance.
Spend just ten minutes a day completing exercises like these, and you will have better posture within a week.