Strength training is a great form of exercise that helps you to build and maintain muscle. Regular strength training, 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes each time, can help to keep your entire body healthy, including your spine. Strengthening your muscles, especially those in your back and core, can help to alleviate or prevent back pain.
Before you add strength training to your weekly routine, we urge you to read the following tips to help keep your spine happy and healthy.
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Do Your Research
It’s important to do your research if you’re new to strength training. We encourage you to seek out a reliable online resource to look up beginner exercises and the correct form to use while performing them. Strength training is a healthy form of exercise, but when the movements are done incorrectly, it can easily lead to injury.
If you’re uncomfortable using an online resource to familiarize yourself with strength training, seek out a personal trainer at your gym. They will be able to show you the basics in a few sessions, and then you can decide whether you’d like to continue training with them or try it on your own.
Doing an ample amount of research is especially important for those who have suffered a spinal injury, had spine surgery, or regularly experience back pain. While strength training is beneficial for most, there are some exercises that may exacerbate your pain or injury.
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Whether you’re new to strength training or you’ve been doing it for years, we recommend starting with light weight when trying a new exercise. Trying a new exercise with little to no weight allows you to see what it feels like and can help you to gauge how much weight you should use. When you are ready to add more weight, it is best to do so in small increments to avoid injury.
Try the Training Machines
If you aren’t comfortable strength training with free weights, your gym likely has a number of machines that can provide the same benefits. One of the best things about using weight training machines is that they all come with helpful diagrams and instructions, meaning you’ll know exactly how to use them.
Use Your Bodyweight
If you aren’t interested in using free weights or training machines, there are other alternatives to build your strength using just your bodyweight. Many of the exercises that can be performed with weight can also be done using only your bodyweight or an exercise band. When doing bodyweight exercises, you can challenge yourself by trying to complete more repetitions each week.
Yoga, Pilates, and martial arts training are also all great alternatives that can help increase your strength without putting a lot of strain on your joints.
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Check With Your Doctor
We recommend that everyone check with their physician before beginning a new exercise program. This is especially important for those who have suffered a spinal injury, had spine surgery, or regularly experience back pain.
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