Exercise for back Pain – Part 2

In my last blog on this topic, I explained how evidence and anecdotes prove that exercise can be beneficial for back pain, but how do you go about getting started? What are the specific exercises that can help? How do you know what is safe and effective for you?

At MI we value you as an individual and that’s why we provide professional coaching within all group sessions, but to have an individual exercise program developed just for you and your needs, have a chat with one of our coaches to find out how we can help you move and feel better!

Once an acute bout of back has settled it is important to return to normal physical activities to prevent loss of strength and deconditioning and return to normal activities and training. Some limitations may still be necessary but a progressive return to exercise intensity and duration is a sensible approach.

Many forms of exercise can be beneficial and these can include:


Mobility exercises – lumbar rotations, cat cow, thoracic rotation and extension (using a foam roller can assist) and hip mobility drills can all help relieve tension and stiffness of the spine and surrounding muscles.

Stretches – such as pigeon stretch, couch stretch, figure 4 stretch and back extensions will improve flexibility of your hips including hip flexors, glutes, hammys and spinal muscles.

Core and trunk stability exercises – can include isometric and dynamic exercises with common examples being the plank and side plank variations, bird dog, glute bridge, dead bugs, pall of press, ab twists and shoulder taps can all improve stability and support the spine, getting you back to normal physical activity levels with a strong core.

Strength exercises – general compound strength exercises involving major muscle groups and integrating the core to get the body moving within functional movements ie. squats, deadlifts, push ups, pull ups, lunges, step ups, chest press and shoulder press. A gradual return to strength training and heavy lifting exercises may be required with a focus on safe technique, limiting range of movement and building up loads progressively.

Low intensity aerobic exercise – walking, swimming, cycling, paddling or anything that you enjoy that is low impact can all have health benefits in improving cardiovascular fitness as well as being an outlet for stress relief and social interaction.

I hope this can give you an insight as to the options available in returning to exercise and training safely within your own limitations.

Feeling lost and want to sit down with one of our Coaches to give you an action plan to get in shape and feel excited to train? Fill your details in here.

Written by Aaron Ashdown, Coach and Exercise Physio at our Burleigh Gym.