Danish freelance journalist and fitness professional Tania Presutti, who now resides in Clonakilty, delivers a series of efficient DIY fitness exercises you can do at home.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m in pain. Yep, like a lot of people, I too, have to deal with a recurring pain, that annoys me to no end, and sometimes, when it’s really bad, make me get out of bed at night to find a doorway or massage ball to ease the pain.
And yes! I’ve tried everything and everybody. Physiotherapy, massage therapy, osteopathy, Japanese massage healing, dry-needle therapy, electrotherapy – you name it, I’ve thrown money and time at it, all to no avail. It goes away from time to time, but hits again, as sure as it always starts to rain again after sunshine. And it’s as bad as it always was.
So why do I bring it up here, you might wonder. Well, after dealing with this pain for a good few years, I’ve found my cheapest and most efficient solution to keep the pain away is to keep active in the area (upper back), and make sure to use my muscles (increases blood flow to the area. So in periods where the pain is prevalent, I try to be extra good at getting a little something done every day because I find that training nullifies the pain and helps me sleep well at night. (It also gives me a good conscience of taking care of my body, which I guess also helps with the sleep).
The reason I’m sharing this is because I know, from all my years of teaching and coaching, that a lot of people stop training when they encounter pain somewhere. My argument is not that everything can be trained away. Some situations can’t and they require rest and/or doctor visits to heal, but sometimes a little re-tailoring of exercises can help remedy the new situation and keeping active in general can help shorten the recovery time. If you suffer from a severe injury or chronic pain, you should of course seek professional medical help before doing any exercise.
So with this ‘sometimes exercise is good despite pain’ advise, I will share my little 10-minute back routine, which I believe can be useful for almost everybody, regardless if you suffer from back pain or not. Two of the exercises were used in my latest ‘Booty-build’ group (of around 40 women of all ages and sizes) and I’ve received several reports, that besides doing wonders for their jeans, the exercises also alleviated minor back problems.
Before we start, put a yoga mat or big towel on the floor, so it’s comfortable for your back to lie on.
For warm up, I use the ‘Sun salute’; Stand up straight. Arms above head, fingertips touch. Bend forward slowly and let your fingertips touch the floor. ‘Roll’ up to standing position and stretch your arms above your head. Repeat this three to five times.
At the last sun-salute, keep hands on the floor and walk into the push up position. Walk a little back with your hands and keep hands and heels to the floor (at this point your body is forming a triangle). Relax in the position (especially neck and shoulders). Walk out into the push up position again and do three to five push ups, then back into the triangle. Repeat the last bit three to five times if desired.
At the last push up, lie down flat on the floor and roll from stomach to back on the floor. Tuck your knees to your chest and pretend you have a large pencil strapped to your knees. Draw big circles at the ceiling with the pencil (five each way), and feel how the circles massage your lower back. Repeat three to five times.
At the last circle, stay on your back and keep your knees tucked to your chest. Round your back, so you can ‘roll’ back on it. ‘Roll’ up so shoulder blades touch the ground, and back to start position (Think of a hedgehog ball).
After three to five rolls, it’s time for Hip Thrusters. Lie flat on the ground and bend your knees (keep whole foot on the ground), arms down your side. Lift up your bum from the floor, but keep your shoulder blades to the floor. Try to focus on keeping your core tight and have a ‘straight’ line from your knees to your chest. Lift up/ sink down about 15 times. (Try maybe three sets of five repetitions).
From here you go to the Firehydrant. On hands and knees, lift up your left leg so it’s aligned with your back. (Like a dog with a firehydrant), do three to five on each side of three times.
Last roll onto your back again. Lift your knees to your chest and arms out to the side. Look to your left and let your knees fall to the right. Enjoy the long stretch and after a couple of deep breaths, change direction; head to the right and knees to the left. Repeat this last exercise five to eight times and remember to relax in the stretched position.
I hope you’ve found this back routine as helpful, as I have. If you have any questions, please feel free to write me at: Taniaskitchenfitness@gmail.com.