Phoenix Medical Associates report that 80 percent of people in the USA suffer from low back pain. Low back pain can result from poor posture, weak back muscles or overuse of the back muscles. You might feel like you should stop exercising and put your feet up while you wait for your back to stop aching. Rest can help for a few days, but as soon as you start moving again your back problems may return. Gym exercises for women can help strengthen the lower back muscles to alleviate or prevent lower back problems and pain.
Treadmill And Elliptical Exercise
Walking is one of the best exercises for women with back problems. It's also an effective aerobic exercise to strengthen your heart and burn fat, which helps ease low back pain associated with being overweight. Most every gym provides several treadmills and elliptical machines for members to use. If you have never used a treadmill or elliptical machine, seek instruction from a qualified fitness professional at your gym and start slowly. Workout at a slow, steady pace for about 15 minutes and gradually increase your time until you can exercise steadily for 30 minutes.
The Smith bent-knee good morning weight exercise targets the erector spinae muscles in the back. The barbell weight glides along guides on each side of the machine to help support the weights. Position the barbell weight across the back and top of the shoulders. Grasp the barbell on each side in an overhand position. Place your feet about hip-width apart with your feet flat on the floor. Rotate the bar backward to disengage the bar and bring the weight to your shoulders. Bend at the hip joint and lower your upper body toward the floor until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Push your torso back up for one repetition. Exhale on the downward motion and inhale on the upward motion. Repeat this exercise for 10 to 12 repetitions. When you can perform 12 repetitions without tiring, add more weight or increase the number of repetitions -- up to as many as 20.
Pregnant women may experience low back pain, especially in the last couple of months of pregnancy due to the increased weight in the front of the abdomen. Exercises that strengthen the lower back muscles can help alleviate low back pain associated with increased stress on the muscles due to pregnancy. Women who were physically active before pregnancy can probably continue to remain active. Before you use exercise machines while pregnant, check with your doctor. Adjust the intensity of your weightlifting or treadmill use according to your doctor's instructions.
Isolation exercises target specific muscles or muscle groups and they are one of the best ways to strengthen the muscles of the lower back. Isolating the back muscles for exercise while keeping the hips and legs from moving is more effective than traditional strength training, according to researchers in the November 2005 issue of "Journal of Applied Fitness." Back extensions on a hyperextension bench primarily work your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. You perform a back extension by first lying in a face down position on a hyperextension bench, and then place your ankles securely under the footpads. Properly adjust the upper pad so that your upper thighs lie flat across the wide pad to allow yourself enough room to easily bend at the waist. Keep your body in a straight line and place your hands behind your ears. Next, inhale and bend slowly at the waist towards the floor, and keep your back flat throughout the exercise. Continue bending forward until you notice you’re losing form or you feel a mild stretch on the hamstrings. Do not allow the back to round out; go as far as you can with a straight back, and then slowly raise the torso back up to the starting position. Keep the entire movement slow and controlled. Do not swing the torso to prevent injuring your back. Begin with 10 repetitions and slowly progress to 15 repetitions when you’re strong enough to do so. If you’re more advanced, you can hold a weight plate for added resistance.
- Phoenix Medical Associates: Low Back Pain
- ShapeFit: Low Back Pain - Treatment Options To Relieve Low Back Pain
- Spine Health: Treadmills For Exercise And Pain Relief
- Exercise Prescription: Smith Bent Knee Barbell Good Morning
- FitPregnancy: The Pregnant Woman's Guide to the Gym
- Bodybuilding: The Ultimate No Fluff Women's Training Guide: Part Two – Back!
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.