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Protect Your Lower Back By Strengthening Your Obliques

One key to avoiding back pain and injury is to keep your obliques strong - these are the muscles that line the sides of your abdominal wall.

Begin with something of a side plank where your points of contact with the ground are your downside elbow and both feet - be sure that the foot of your top leg is behind the foot of your bottom leg. Put your upside hand on the side of you head, then curl your trunk down to bring your upside elbow to the ground, then back up again. Repeat for several repetitions, then do the same thing on the other side.

Then move into a side plank with your downside hand and both feet on the ground, this time with the foot of your top leg in front of your other foot. Your other hand can be on your upside hip. In this position, push into the ground through your downside hand and feet while creating an arc with your trunk by reaching your upper hip up toward the ceiling - the net result is lateral flexion of your trunk. Return to a neutral side plank position and repeat for several repetitions, then repeat on the other side.

Next, hold any weight in one hand to your side and lower it to the ground by squatting your legs. The goal is to keep your trunk forward facing without any swerving to one side. Repeat for several repetitions on both sides. Be sure to keep your lower back strong throughout this movement - the bulk of the work should be done by your legs and of course your obliques in keeping your trunk straight.

Lastly, if you have a hanging bar, hold yourself up in a mid-pull-up position with your palms facing forward, and with your hips and knees comfortably flexed, twist your legs from side to side to any degree that feels doable for you.

 
 

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