By Troy Moore '20
Instances of lower back pain are unfortunately as widespread as the potential causes for it. The issue is one that I've personally had to deal with during training.
When first considering low back pain, the easy solution is often to try and target training that area specifically, but it is often already pretty tightly wound and the body could benefit more from training the surrounding areas. The most obvious could be the abdominal muscles because they directly counter the low back and strengthen these can directly alleviate some of the tension held in the low back.
Common exercises like crunches or hanging leg raises can be used as ab strengtheners that also provide a stretch to the low back.
Other big contributors to trouble felt in the low back region are the hips. Excessive pulling from the front of the hips from staying in stationary sitting positions can cause weaker glute muscles over time and create an unnatural dependence on the low back pulls. However, a strong reliance on activities like squatting or biking can also lead to hips that are too tight; so the likelihood of hip tightness as a low back pain contributor is pretty high for everyone.
Substituting a lunge or rear foot elevated single-leg squat during leg training can target some of the same desired groups while also doubling as a stretch for the hips.
Throughout my own intermittent bouts of low back pain, I have found targeting stretches for the hip to be the most helpful but distinctly remember needing a break from traditional cardiovascular training. In the interim where low back pain was almost at a debilitating level, I was able to use an elliptical to remain active throughout the curative process.
More so, conversations with some of the recreation center trainers introduced me to proven back health protocols I used to help guide my recovery. Whether it be for low back pain or other fitness-related inquiries, reach out to FIU’s Wellness & Recreation Centers at firstname.lastname@example.org to request information on how training staff can help you keep moving forward.
Troy Moore '20 is a certified exercise physiologist and a graduate student in the kinesiology and exercise science program at FIU. Formerly, he worked as the graduate assistant of fitness at the Wellness and Recreation Center.