By Athlete's Care on April 12, 2013
by Melissa Givelos, DC at Athlete's Care Yonge & Sheppard and King & Yonge
Whether your low back aches due to your training for a marathon or working endless hours a desk everyday there are some simple daily things you can do to prevent lower body injuries and get the most out of your training routine. Using the foam roller to maintain mobility, and using core exercises to take pressure off of your back can help improve biomechanical efficiency and decrease the risk of insidious injury.
The Foam Roller
Using the foam roller PROPERLY helps maintain proper hip mobility to help decrease pressure put on the back and the knees. Some key things to keep in mind when using the foam roller are:
• Work through each area 30-45 seconds
• Move slowly
• Focus on trouble areas by spending more time rolling them
• Roll REGULARLY, if you don’t go to the gym often, it is something you can easy do at home before bed or when watching television
If you have any shoulder issues, these moves can be aggravating so trying alternatives or waiting until the issue is resolved is recommended.
4 muscles to focus on:
1. Quadriceps and hip flexor – muscles that are often forgotten during foam rolling
3. IT Band/TFL – ensure to roll all the way up to your hip bone as the is an area commonly missed
Basic Core Exercises
Often people mistake the core as being just abs and assume that sit-ups will do the trick. This is incorrect as the core involves not only the Abs, but the Obliques and Transverse abdominis also. These 3 exercises can help strengthen your core and activate your Gluteus Maximus, which is also important in taking strain off your low back. Some key things to keep in mind with the following exercises are:
• Keep proper form, only do as many reps as you can with proper form, holding each move for 2-3 seconds.
Ensure you are activating your core and squeezing your glutes together before and during the move
3 Key Exercises:
Glute Bridges – Make sure to contract your core first (as if someone is tickling your sides) then squeeze your glutes and lift. Come back down and relax. Repeat 8-10 reps, or the most you can do with proper form
Prone Cobra – Contract core first and then squeeze glutes together and hold for 2-3 seconds and relax down. Repeat 8-10 reps, or the most you can do with proper form
Side Bridge – Make sure your elbow is directly under your shoulder. Contract your core and then squeeze your glutes together while thrusting your hips forward. Hold for 2-3 seconds and come back down and relax. Repeat 8-10 reps, or the most you can do with proper form.