As we age, the chances of suffering from protrusions or herniated discs in our spine increase, regardless of whether or not they cause symptoms. In fact, if we were to evaluate 100 people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, to give an example, we would observe that many of them have some of the aforementioned conditions and that a good percentage of them carry out their daily and sports activities normally.
It is clear that a sedentary life predisposes you to suffer from this type of back ailment, regardless of whether you feel pain or not, but keep in mind that the simple fact of turning years increases the chances that it will end up happening at some point.
In this article we want to anticipate this and explain the best exercises to strengthen your back that you can take into account if you are over 40 years oldyou already have a strong back and you want to keep it that way.
Romanian deadlift or good morning
The Romanian deadlift and the good morning share the same mechanics at the hip level, that is, the movement is the same but the spinal demands are higher on the good morning.
What we are looking for with these exercises is to cause our spine, especially the lumbar spine, to tend to flex. Our job is to prevent it by keeping the spine neutral.
Ideally, start with the Romanian deadlift, where the bar is closer to your center of gravity. When we are really strong in this movement we can choose to try the good morning. Good morning is more demanding because when supporting the bar on the shoulders, as in a squat, the horizontal distance between it and our center of gravity is greater, and therefore the lever arm on our lumbar spine is also greater.
The Jefferson curl looks for the opposite of the previous ones. Here, under controlled load and conditions, we are going to look for precisely a small bend in the spine. Exposing the lumbar spine to small degrees of flexion can be positive for adapting the tissues to future situations in which this occurs, such as bending down to pick up your grandchildren from the ground.
The important thing in this movement is to go flexing the spine slowly, vertebra by vertebra and from top to bottomas if you rolled up on yourself.
Waiter’s walk lunge
Finally we have an exercise that probably catches your attention. With the previous exercises we covered the back in a sagittal plane, that is, before flexion and extension movements. Now we want to cover it in its frontal plane, that is, before lateral flexion movement of the spine.
We could include exercises like the side plank, which is very easy, or the farmer’s walk, which is also easy. However, we wanted to go further and explain an exercise that achieves the same thing but requires more control.
The movement is simple. We simply have to perform strides, either moving forward or on the spot, but holding a load either above our head with an outstretched arm or on our shoulders as in the video. We can use bags, kettlebells, dumbbells or even backpacks. The key is not to let our spine lean to one side.
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Images | istock
Videos | Nuffield Health, Emmet Louis, The Active Life