Strengthening your core is the key to avoiding injury and you can protect your back with one simple exercise.
Low back pain can be a real nuisance, especially during race season. Often times your nagging low back pain can be attributed to poor posture and poor muscle activation. Typically low back pain is brought on when your pelvis is anteriorly tilted (your butt sticks out more than it should). This posture means your glutes and hamstrings are in a lengthened position and can’t be properly activated when you run. This is a problem because if your glutes are not activating properly, you won’t be able to fully extend your hips while maintaining a neutral spine, placing unnecessary stress on your back.
The best way to retrain your body to properly activate your glutes and avoid any low back pain this summer is by integrating glute bridges into your regular routine. Although the glute bridge is a simple exercise, don’t underestimate it’s power; it is a versatile exercise. It will help strength your mind-muscle connection while allowing you to strengthen your glutes. For optimal results you should perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions before you head out for your run. This is the best way to get your glute muscles firing for your run and to keep you pain free.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor directly under your knees. Place your arms on the ground by your sides with your palms flat on the ground. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips up towards the ceiling until your hips, knees and shoulders form a straight line. Hold for a second, then slowly lower your hips back down and repeat. If you have any pain in your low back then don’t lift your hips up as high.