5 Exercises for back pain (Pregnancy included)

Back pain is something that a lot of us experience, me included, and it can be the worst. But don’t worry! There are some things we can do (besides go to see an osteopath), to help strengthen the back and reduce the likelihood of pain.

  1. Wall Squats *Pregnancy Safe*
    Stand against a wall and squat down so your back is flat against it, but your legs are bent into a squat. Look at your knees and ankles, make sure your knees are either directly above or slightly behind your ankles to reduce the likelihood of strain on your knees. Try to hold for 30 seconds.
    If you would like to challenge yourself further, you can extend and lift one leg to hold in front of you during the wall squat.
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  2. Arm and Leg Raises *Pregnancy Safe*
    These will work your back and bum.  Make sure your spine is kept straight, slowly lift one arm and the opposite leg to extend them both. If you can, try to get your knee to touch your elbow by doing a little crunch in the middle (shown below). Keep alternating sides to ensure both sides are worked equally. If you don’t trust your balance, you can do just one arm or one leg at a time. Aim for 10 reps each side.
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  3. Glute bridges/ Hip raises *Pregnancy Safe*
    Lie on your back, bring your feet close to your bum, keep your hands by your sides. Focus on your core, lift up your hips, and squeeze your glutes with your at the top and come back down. Try for 10 reps.
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  4. Reverse Curl ups *Pregnancy Safe*
    Lie on your back, bend your knees and bring them in towards your chest. Focus on your core, bring your knees to your chest and out again as many times as you can, but try and aim for 12 reps to begin with.
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  5. Oblique rotations *Pregnancy Safe*
    Lie on your back, bend your knees and raise them up to be close to your chest. Tighten your core and move your legs to one side, then to the middle, then to the other side. Hold these for 2 seconds on each side per rep. Try for 10 reps, take it as slow as you need to.
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  6.  *Bonus* Cat/ Cow stretches *Pregnancy Safe*

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Go on your hands and knees, exhale as you round your back and pull your belly in for cat pose (top picture). Inhale as you lower your back, raise your head and stick your butt out for cow pose (bottom picture). These stretches will work on your back, torso, neck and abs. If you need to modify because of wrist pain, go on to your forearms or pop a pillow/ blanket under your wrists. If your knees hurt, again, pop a pillow or blanket under them to make these poses more comfortable.

For each of these exercises, only do as many reps as you are comfortable with. If you feel those muscles ache the next day, that’s good! It means they are working your muscles! Each time you do these exercises try and increase your reps to get stronger and challenge yourself.

I hope you enjoy these exercises and stretches, stick with them to keep getting stronger!

Thanks for reading,

Maria

❤️

5 Ways to Use a Yoga Wheel

In a previous post “Yoga Props! What they are and how they can help” I gave a bit of information on different yoga props that exist and I spoke a bit about the yoga wheel. Click here to read more.

What is a yoga wheel?
Basically, a yoga wheel can be made out of different things but ultimately they are made out of PVC, others out of other blends of plastic and other materials. The purpose of the wheel is to be strong enough to support your weight in many different poses and positions. It’s a great way to change and challenge your practice, it especially helps you work on your balance!

What can it be used for?
Like other yoga props out there, the yoga wheel is there to support you in poses that you maybe can’t yet fully do and perhaps allow you to push yourself further in poses you can do.

5 Ways to use the wheel!

  1. To open up your chest and shoulders
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  2. To support you in difficult poses e.g. backbends like kapotasana
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  3. To steady your forearm stands
    Place the wheel between your hands and go into the forearm stand as normal. I don’t personally use my wheel this way, but it works for many people.
  4. To mix up your workouts & core workouts
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    This is just a funky way to include the wheel in a core workout. You’re still doing the crunch but the added weight of the wheel and the act of moving it back and forth is a way to engage your mind a little more.
  5. Practicing handstands and handstand presses20180205_131146_1

This core work also makes your arms and hands become used to supporting your body’s full weight. Also building the core strength here is a great way to prepare for handstands and handstand press as these are the main muscles that will be used.

Thanks for reading, I hope this has helped give you more of an insight into how to use your yoga wheel!

Don’t forget to check back with me weekly for new posts and click the follow button to subscribe!

Maria

❤️