My Back Hurts

My Back Hurts


“I have a bad back, what exercise can I do?” This question comes up a lot and ultimately it does depend on your personal situation. However there is a move that I can confidently say would be beneficial for back pain. Just to clarify usually when talking about back pain, we’re referring to low back pain. Upper back pain is an issue as well but upper back pain almost always has to do with low back pain. They are definitely connected and i will tell you why.

Bad Posture

Show of hands if you sit all day at your job? Ok everyone in the room can put their hands down. Chances are you are in bad posture most of the day which means you’ve probably been in bad posture most of your life. That will not get fixed overnight but it can get better with, well, work. Think about what your back looks like with bad posture or a rounded back with forward shoulders. Like a sideways horseshoe correct? So what muscles are pulling? Yes the low back muscles also known as the erectors. Also what are your hips doing? They are flexed in a static position. Meaning they stay in the flexed position for as long as you are sitting. Now picture someone walking with forward rounded shoulders, rounded back, and slightly flexed hips. That my friends is why most people in America have low back pain. Now add in life stress, mediocre diet, sedentary lifestyle and continue this for 25 years. Herniated disks are very common after awhile, piriformis syndrome, sciatic nerve pain and many other painful symptoms are product of all these things. So now you know why but what should you do?

Hip Bridges

As stated above, low back pain is sometimes product of forward lean and flexed hips. If thats the case we need to promote the opposite direction, called hip extension. Chances are the glutes and hamstrings are tight and weak if this is the reason. So what’s a good exercise that strengthens those muscles, has hip extension, no impact, and is so easy you can do it anywhere? The hip bridge! Sheree Burton AKA “Hips don’t lie,” demonstrates a great hip bridge in the picture below.

Notice the hip extension! I see a lot of the time where people don’t fully extend their hips all the way. Also notice the feet are flat and she’s “pushing” through her heels. Sheree has added the Sling Shot Hip Circle to promote more activation from her glutes. Great addition but you don’t “need” it. 

Adding hip bridges to your daily routine can help back pain out tremendously. I like them in my clients sessions before they workout. It sort of tells the brain to “turn on” those posterior muscles. Try them before squats and you’ll feel what I’m talking about. I suggest 3-4 sets of 15 reps either before a workout or after a long day of sitting. There are different progressions to the hip bridge also called a hip thrust. Those can be found all over what we call “the internet.” There are also other ways to better your posture and that will be coming in a future blog. You know how we don’t like to bombard you with too much information! So get to bridging and please tag us on instagram (#burtonnutrition @burtonnutrition) a picture of you doing them and how they’ve benefitted you!