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Top Exercises to Prevent Lower Back Pain for Runners

Published on February 26 by Anna

Running is a fantastic way to stay fit and explore the outdoors, but it can also put stress on your lower back, leading to pain and hindering your training. Luckily, incorporating specific exercises into your routine can help strengthen the muscles that support your back, improve flexibility, and prevent lower back pain from becoming a roadblock in your running journey.

Core Strength is Key:

A strong core is essential for proper running form and back health. Here are some effective core exercises:

  • Plank: This classic exercise strengthens your entire core, including your abs, glutes, and lower back. Start in a push-up position with your elbows bent and forearms on the floor. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 30-60 seconds, gradually increasing the duration as you get stronger.
  • Bird-Dog: This exercise strengthens your core and improves spinal stabilization. Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart. Extend one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously, keeping your back flat and core engaged. Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 10-12 times on each side.
  • Dead bug: This exercise targets your deep core muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend one arm straight up towards the ceiling and the opposite leg straight out, keeping your lower back pressed against the floor. Slowly lower your arm and leg back down, then repeat with the other side. Do 10-12 repetitions on each side.

Don't Neglect Your Posterior Chain:

Strong hamstrings and glutes play a crucial role in maintaining proper running form and reducing back stress. Here are some exercises to target these muscles:

  • Single-leg Romanian Deadlift: This exercise strengthens your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, stand on one leg, and slowly hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight, until your torso is almost parallel to the ground. Lower the dumbbells towards the floor, then return to the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times on each leg.
  • Glute bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back down. Repeat 10-12 times.

Improve Flexibility:

Tight muscles can contribute to back pain. Here are some stretches to improve your flexibility:

  • Knee to chest stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest and hold it for 30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your lower back and hamstring. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Spinal twist: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Twist your torso to one side, keeping your hips facing forward. Place your hand on the floor behind you for support, and gently look over your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Remember:

  • Consistency is key: Aim to perform these exercises 2-3 times a week for optimal results.
  • Listen to your body: If you experience any pain, stop the exercise and consult a doctor or physical therapist.
  • Warm up before and cool down after your workouts: This helps prepare your muscles for exercise and prevent injuries.
  • Consult a professional: If you have any pre-existing back problems, consult a physical therapist or certified trainer to create a personalized exercise program that is safe and effective for you.

By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can strengthen your core, improve flexibility, and prevent lower back pain from disrupting your running journey. Remember, consistency and proper form are key to reaping the benefits of these exercises and enjoying pain-free runs!