According to Consumer Reports, four of every five American adults experience back pain. While lower back pain may seem like a chronic condition that cannot be helped, you can help yourself have a pain-free lower back. By performing some weight training exercises, you can strengthen your lower back and work toward a pain-free life.
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Your Lower Back
Lower back pain is so prevalent because it has many causes. You can hurt your lower back by lifting heavy items incorrectly, falling or slouching while you sit. Stress and obesity can also contribute to lower back pain. While you can treat a balky lower back with rest, medicine and heat or ice pads, the best way to beat back problems is to exercise. Exercise can build the strength you're missing in your lower back, which can prevent back pain.
The deadlift is one of the best exercises you can do for your entire body. It works your hamstrings and lower back, two often-neglected muscles. There are two main types of deadlifts, a regular deadlift and a stiff-legged deadlift. Both require you to pick up a barbell off the ground using only your lower body. While deadlifts are effective, they can also leave you hurting if you don't use good form. Use a reasonable amount of weight and let your lower body -- not your lower back -- do the work.
Not just a friendly greeting, a good morning is an exercise that builds the strength in your lower back. The good morning is similar to a squat, but instead of bending your knees and using your legs to push the weight, you bend forward and use your lower back to bring the weight back to the starting position. Like the deadlift, this is an exercise that requires more attention to form than it does a large amount of weight, so exercise with caution.
You don't have to specifically work your lower back to develop strength in your lower back. Instead, you can use exercises that work other parts of what's known as your core -- your hips, your back and your abs. In particular, lower abdominal exercises help strengthen your lower back indirectly. Because abdominal exercise requires a stable lower back, you can get a residual lower-back benefit from working the rest of your core.
Hanging Leg Raises
The hanging leg raise is traditionally viewed as an exercise for your lower abs, but it has huge benefits for your lower back. As the name suggests, you hang from either a bar or from arm slings and raise your legs to your chest. This is a huge test for your lower back, which is charged with stabilizing the rest of your body, particularly if you do the exercise without a back support. Once you master this exercise, you can add weight by placing a dumbbell between your feet.