As a massage therapist, I am all about pain management for my clients by relieving tension and trigger points. This is great but sometimes it gets to a point where we just can not get rid of pain entirely or it keeps coming back. I have found in many instances, including myself, where muscles actually need to be strengthened. I have compiled a few strengthening exercises for those of you who need that little something extra to feel your best.
Lower back and Glutes (buttox) strengthening
When the Low back is weak it can cause pain because it just does not have the strength to move and carry weight the way it is supposed to. When the Glutes are weak it can cause lower back pain, hip pain and discomfort. We rely on the Glutes for a number of reasons namely abduction of the hip. Anterior fibers medially rotate the hip and posterior fibers laterally rotate the hip.
How to do it:
1) Lie on your back, feet flat and hip-width apart, arms relaxed, and knees bent.
2) Squeeze your buttocks as you lift your hips, creating a straight line from the knees to the shoulders.
3) Hold for a slow count of two, then lower slowly.
4)Build up to 10 to 12 repetitions.
Make it harder: Lift one foot off the floor and hold it straight up toward the ceiling, foot flexed, keeping the hips even. This is much more challenging, so start by holding this pose for just a few seconds. Repeat five to eight times, then switch legs.
How to do it: ( low back and glute strengthening)
1) Begin on all fours, knees hip-width apart and under the hips, hands flat and shoulder-width apart.
2) Squeeze your abs by pulling belly toward spine.
3) Keep the spine neutral, without arching the back or rotating the hips, and extend your right leg back and your left arm straight ahead.
4) Hold for two to three seconds or as long as you can maintain form.
5) Repeat five to six times on each side.
Trapezius and upper back strengthening
When the upper back is weak it can cause a number of postural problems: slouching, internally-rotated humerus, neck and shoulder pain.
How to do it:
1) Lay on your stomach with arms straight out in front of you.
2) Lift arms, chest and legs off the floor.
3) Hold for 10 seconds, or less if need be.
4) Build up to 10 to 12 repetitions.
Abdomin, shoulder and back strengthening
When these muscles are weak they can cause postural problems as well. Strengthening these muscle groups can help with that slouchy feeling you get in your shoulders, I'm talking to everyone who sits at a computer for an extended period of time, students, texters and drivers (never text and drive!)!!!
How to do it: (plank)
1) Lift your body off the ground by using your forearms and toes.
2) Place forearms on the ground shoulder width apart.
3) Legs hip width apart.
4) Hold for 10 - 90 seconds depending on strength.
5) Build up to 5-10 repetitions.