Lower Back Exercises for Runners
Lower back is a part of the core region of a human body and it is very complicated. Lots of things in and along the spine. And runners generally hurt it with long runs, hard surface running, poor running posture and what not.
Causes of lower back pain in runners
Lower back in runners can be a very annoying injury and can lead to a serious downtime. The causes can be mysterious but a visit to an experienced doctor can reveal it’s probable cause. However, the reasons can be many –
1. Tight hip flexors.
2. Weak core.
3. Poor running form.
4. Uneven leg length.
5. Flat feet.
6. Over striding.
8. Tight hamstrings.
9. Poor recovery.
Lower back exercises
An amazing exercise for lower back as shown in the inset. Hold the position for as long as possible. There are a lot of variations to this posture like raising alternate leg and hand, raising only hands or only legs. This a exercise should be done by all runners to prevent low back ache and to keep an upright posture throughout the run.
2. Cobra pose
Also known as bhujangasana. It is an excellent asana to stretch and strengthen the back. Lie down on stomach and slowly raise your upper body with the help of your arms. Keep breathing normally throughout the movement. At the top most point try and look up. Hold it for 3-5 breaths and slowly return to starting position.
3. Glute bridge
Another great exercise for those with painful knees, hamstrings and glutes. Good form will mean a straight line from neck to knees as shown in the inset. Hold the position as long as possible without breaking the form i.e sagging of hips. To make it challenging, lift alternate legs while maintaining the straight line. Gradually keep increasing the time of the hold as you get stronger.
4. Pigeon pose
It helps stretch out the hip flexors. Get in the position as shown in the inset. Gradually bend forward according to your flexibility. Hold at the end for 3-5 breaths and return to starting position and change leg.
This asana helps strengthen and stretch the lower as well as upper back. Lie down on your stomach and reach back and hold your ankles. Now slowly raise you chest and thighs off the ground. Hold it for 3-5 breaths and come down to starting position.
Planks are the bread and butter of any runner aiming to excel in the sport. Front and side plank are the best exercises for stabilising the core. There are many variations to it as you become stronger. The basic posture is shown in the inset. Points to remember:
– Keep breathing normally throughout.
– Maintain a straight line of neck, back and glutes like a wooden plank.
– Avoid shifting unless doing a dynamic variation.
– Start by holding the posture for 20-30 seconds while maintaining a proper posture and build up subsequently.
Tips to prevent lower back pain
2. Walk and don’t sit for long.
3. Get your gait analysis done. You can get a ton of information about your running style and can make corrections accordingly.
4. In case of leg length discrepancy, get custom orthotics.
5. Avoid running too much mileage on roads. Hit the trails often.
6. Foam roll your back, glutes and hamstrings to loosen the tight spots.
7. Get adequate sleep and ensure proper recovery after running.
8. Read this to improve running form.
9. Stretch your back often while sitting on your chair.
10. Sleep on a hard bed.
11. Change shoes if worn out.
12. Avoid lifting heavy weights or wear a lumbar belt while lifting.
Hope these exercises will help you to manage the lower back. Till then stay fit and keep running.
What exercises you do to counter lower back pain?
Are there any specific issues which trigger back pain for you?
Disclaimer : I am not a medical practitioner. The exercises given in this article are the ones I do to manage my lower back. Get yourself checked by a qualified doctor in case of severe pain and discomfort.