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Health and Fitness Tips

Strengthening Your Back

Many of my clients work behind a desk all day, and/or travel, and often complain of back pain - this can be exasperated by sitting for extensive periods of time and fatigue. Back pain can affect your entire body and eventually cause other muscles to ache.

Prolonged sitting reduces the natural curvature of the lumbar spine (the lower part) and causes the surrounding muscles to weaken and tire. The fatigue leads to irritation of the disks and nerves in your lower back.

Try doing the following exercises every other day to help build back strength. Perform each exercise in a slow and controlled manner, and stop if you feel any severe pain or discomfort.

Pelvic Tilt
To strengthen your buttock muscle I recommend the pelvic tilt exercise to my clients. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your lower-abdominal and buttock muscles, which will flatten your lower back. Contract your buttocks and slowly raise your hips off the floor without arching your back. Hold for a count of eight, then lower. Repeat ten times.

Knee-to-Chest
To stretch your hip, lower-back and buttock muscles, I encourage clients to perform the knee-to-chest exercise. Start by lying on your back with your right leg bent and your right foot flat on the floor; keep your left leg straight. Slowly pull your right knee to your chest while keeping your left leg and lower back pressed against the floor. Hold for a count of eight, release and repeat with your left leg. Repeat ten times for each leg. If this stretch causes discomfort, try bringing both knees to your chest at the same time.

The Crunch
The crunch strengthens your abdominal muscles, which provide core strength to your back. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms loosely across your chest and keep your chin pointed toward the ceiling. Tighten your abdomen and curl halfway up. Hold for a count of five, then slowly lower your upper body without letting your shoulders rest on the floor. Repeat ten times and do a total of three sets.

Working to strengthen your back is an important core exercise to incorporate into your body sculpting routine. These exercises are a great start, however look into core building yoga classes. Yoga is a great way to not only strengthen your core muscles but your back as well.

Rick Gusler is a certified personal trainer and diet nutritionist who serves his clients through Gusler Body Sculpting and Fitness Center in central Denver. To schedule a free consultation or to learn more about the Gusler method of body sculpting, or Rick's Boot Camp, please contact him at 303.860.7131 or online at www.guslerbodysculpting.com.

Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center, LLC
459 Acoma Street · Denver, Colorado 80204 · 303-860-7131
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7-12, 4-9 · Saturday: 7-12 · Sunday: Closed