How many of you suffer from lower back pain? (I'm raising my hand.) We demand so much from our back on a daily basis but typically fail to take care of it by actually strengthening it. A strong backside = less or no injury! Anyone interested in that?
But it's not just about your back, it's actually about your whole posterior chain. This term refers to your shoulders, back, glutes, and hamstrings -- basically the back of your body. All of these muscle groups work together so it's important to do exercises that train all of them.
The backside often gets neglected by general exercisers because we don't see it like we see the biceps and abs. Plus, the moves that produce a strong posterior chain can be rather intimidating if you've never done them before (i.e squats, rows, dead lifts).
Beyond just overall back wellness, a stronger posterior chain can make you a faster runner, a higher jumper, and a more explosive athlete in any sport.
Are you a parent or grandparent who picks up kids? Then you need a strong backside. Every time you pick up a kid, that's a squat!
So, we can conclude that EVERYONE needs to have a strong posterior chain.
Fortunately, it's easy to do a very effective posterior chain strengthening exercise at home and/or without equipment by doing a single leg hip bridge. (You know I love exercises that don't require equipment.)
This exercise focuses on adding strength and stability to your lower back, hips, butt, and hamstring muscles. Here's how to do it.
- Lay flat on a mat or soft surface with knees bent.
- Extend the left leg into the air, flexing your foot.
- Tighten your abs (front of belly) by pulling in your belly button. Then push your hips up, using your butt and back of your legs. Hold your leg up for a moment, keeping your abs, back and legs engaged. Make sure that your hips are level and that one side is not higher or lower than the other.
- Lower your hips and lightly touch the mat with your butt and then lift your hips back up immediately. Hold for a moment.
- Continue lifting and lowering your hips for a set, anywhere from 10-20 times.
- Repeat with the right leg up in the air.
Suggested frequency: 2 sets, 2-3 times a week
Alternative #1: Instead of lifting and lowering your hips, you can just hold your hips up off the ground and your one leg in the air for time. 30 seconds is a good starting point. Repeat with the other leg in the air.
Alternative #2: You can add weight to this by holding a plate or barbell over your hips. Let it rest lightly on your belly but use your hands to keep it in place during the whole exercise.
That's it folks. It's super simple to do this exercise anywhere -- home, office, gym, hotel room, the front yard -- wherever! Think about adding this exercise in to your routine today. Your back will certainly thank you.
Leave me a comment and let me know if these Workout Wednesday posts are helpful. I'd love your feedback.
Have a healthy day!