Over the past few months I’ve been talking about back injuries in firefighters. First I cleared up a few myths about back injuries. Then I went over exercises that firefighters should AVOID because they can progressively cause damage to the spine – totally counterproductive.
Lastly, I’m going over some quick exercises you should be sure to include in your workout to avoid a back injury.
An exercise program to protect the back from pain and injury should a) improve back muscle endurance b) stretch the hamstrings, c) strengthen the anterior abdominals, and c) strengthen the side abdominals or obliques.
In earlier posts I addressed a, b and c. Below is a picture of a “side plank” to work the obliques. You may want to start out doing these on your knees if you’re too shaky on your feet. You can increase the intensity by balancing on your hand rather than your elbow.
The key to doing this exercise correctly is to think about a string pulling up on your hip from the ceiling. Try holding this on each side for as long as you can and hold longer as you get stronger.
This is the best exercise to do for your obliques because it does not involve twisting. In an earlier post, I explained why excessive twisting is so bad for your back.
Other exercises in this series:
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