Quick guide to reducing or preventing back pain

August 17, 2010 8:38:36 AM PDT
The majority of Americans will suffer from some sort of back pain throughout their life, especially if their job requires sitting for most of the day, says Sean Armstead, certified personal trainer and co-owner of Phenomenal Fitness.What causes your back pain? A quick guide to reducing or preventing back pain

Often low back pain is not the result of an acute sudden injury, but chronically sustaining poor posture, he adds.

Sean points out the common contributors to low back pain are:

  1. Poor posture
  2. Muscle imbalance (in the mid-section and hips)

  • Weakness in the glutes, lower back, abdominals
  • Tightness in hip flexors and front hips

To prevent back pain, you must move through the hips and legs instead of the lower back, and you must be consciously aware of your sitting position, Sean says.

Proper exercise can prevent and alleviate back pain, he adds. You will need some simple equipment for the exercises Sean recommends: floor mat, band, Kettlebell or dumbbell.

Exercises to strengthen rear hip area and mid section: do 10-20 repetitions in 2-3 sets. Allow the quality of your movement and conditioning to dictate the number of reps and sets. Discontinue movement if you experience back discomfort or pain, Sean says.

  • Plank with side hip movement (for abs, shoulders). Start with shoulders stacked over elbows and toes on the floor. Body should be in a straight line from ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. Maintain controlled breathing pattern and tension in abs. Hold for 30-45 seconds, work up to 60 seconds.
  • Floor bridges (for glutes, hamstrings, lower back). Start on your back and open your chest to affect a good stretch across the chest with palms facing up. While squeezing glutes, elevate hips and maintain tension in glutes and lower abs. Hold this position for added effect of exercise; do 10-20 reps.
  • Dead-lifts (glutes, hamstrings, low back) Start by holding a kettlebell between your legs. Keeping your arms straight, lower the weight while pushing your butt backwards, bending at the knees as needed, DO NOT round your back. Return to the starting position, pushing through the floor, which helps keep pressure off the lower back. Keep your head and chest up. Squeeze your glutes at the end of each rep; do 10-15reps.

Exercise to stretch/activate to increase hip flexibility

  • Standing rear reaches (abs and front hips). While standing with feet hip width apart, arms cross over chest, reach backwards with shoulders. Move through the hips (NOT LOWER BACK). Feel the stretch on the front hips (flexors), should feel abs tighten and glutes. 10-15reps

For more information, visit www.phenomenalfitness.com

About Sean Armstead, Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert

Sean Armstead is the co-owner of Phenomenal Fitness, a personal training gym located in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. A former U.S. Marine Corps Captain, Sean has received several fitness-related awards, and has over 15 years of personal training experience. His expertise is further evidenced by the numerous personal training, fitness, and nutrition certifications he holds, which include:

  • PTA Global Certified Personal Trainer
  • Certified Personal Trainer-National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist - National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • Certified Personal Trainer -National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • Nutrition and LifeStyle Coach Level II -Chek Institute.
  • Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification
  • Certified Kettlebell Trainer -International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation
  • Certified Coach - American Kettlebell Club
  • Master Trainer -- American Kettlebell Club
  • SCW Mania 2010 Kettlebell Chief Instructor
  • 1st Place June 27, 2009 Georgia State Kettlebell Lifting Championship 90+ kilo (Biathlon)
  • 1st Place World Kettlebell Lifting Championship August 29, 2009 Chicago, IL 90+ (Biathlon)
  • 1st Place Toledo Kettlebell Midwest Open January 30, 2010 (Long Cycle)
  • 1st Place August 7, 2010 World Kettlebell Lifting Championship 90+ kg (Longcycle)
  • 1st Place August 7, 2010 World Kettlebell Lifting Championship 90+ kg (StrongSport LC 36kg)

Additionally, Sean has completed extensive coursework in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT).

In addition to a full roster of personal training clients, Sean currently serves as the Illinois State Director for the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as well as the Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for the NSCA.

He is a consistently sought-after speaker and guest lecturer on topics ranging from strength development and weight loss to overall health and fitness.

In his personal training practice, Sean passionately discovers effective training methods and develops innovative exercise techniques to help each client achieve the highest possible level of fitness while improving structural integrity. Sean's holistic approach to fitness is attentive to the client's mind, body, and spirit. He subscribes to the belief that all three must operate in harmony if true fitness is to be achieved.

Sean's creed is: "The heart of a successful conditioning program is commitment, consistency and correctness."


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