If you've spent the past year working from your couch or bed, your lower back is probably feeling the effects. According to chiropractors, spending your days hunched over your laptop is one of the most common culprits behind improper alignment, which means that you could benefit from using your sweat sessions as a way to make things right.
In this week's episode of Trainer of the Month Club, Charlee Atkins, CSCS, founder of Le Sweat TV, walks you through a low-back friendly HIIT that helps to strengthen the muscles in the area in order to keep you in alignment and prevent pain. You'll start off with some mobility exercises to warm-up your body, then move through HIIT-style circuits (which don't require any equipment). Follow along with the video below, and while you're on a kick of being kind to your lower back, consider investing in an ergonomically-correct desk chair.
Round 1 and 2
Sumo lean (right): Start with your feet wide and toes pointed out. Keep your chest up and lower down into the sumo squat position. Lift your right heel up and lean your upper body in that direction. Hold it for a second, then return to center. Repeat.
Sumo lean (left): Repeat on the left side.
Alternating reverse lunge: Start with your feet hip-distance apart. Drop your right knee back so that it kisses the ground. Lift your knee up and back to the starting position, then repeat on the opposite side. Continue to alternate. "These don't need to be rushed," Atkins says. One of the biggest errors I see in reverse lunges is people tend to step too far back, and then they feel the back kneecap have a pull on it. So make sure that you'er just stepping your foot back enough to make sure that your knee is able to kiss the ground, and come right back up."
Plank jacks: Get into a high plank position. Jump your feet in and out. For a modification, tap one foot out at a time instead of jumping.
Round 3 and 4
Bounces: "This is a great way to strengthen your ankles," Atkins says. "All you're going to be doing is just bouncing here." You can bounce and leave the ground or, for a more low-impact movement, just lift your heels and keep the balls of your feet planted. If you want to add a little more, move your hands like you're using a jumprope.
Seal jacks: Atkins says these are similar to jumping jacks, but instead of reaching your arms overhead, you open and close them our in front of you She says to picture it like opening up huge barn doors, while your feet also move in and out. If you aren’t comfortable with jumping, you can tap your feet one at a time.
Lateral bear walk: Get into a bear plank position. There should be a straight line from your head to your hips, and your shins should be hovering off of the ground. Keep that position and move from one side of the mat to the other.
Leg lowers: Lie on your back and extend your legs straight up toward the ceiling. Press your elbows down into the mat, and lower one heel down and lift it back up, then repeat on the opposite side. Continue to alternate. "This is a double whammy. Not only is it lower abs, it's also hip mobility. So if you do find that a lot of workouts tend to make your lower back feel unsupported this is a great exercise to help build up hip mobility and core strength," Atkins says.
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