I admit I have always been in love with push ups. Even as a youngster this was my first body building exercise. But can doing push ups relieve an aching back? The answer is maybe. Five years ago I injured my back at work and after months of physical therapy underwent back surgery. During the six months after my accident I stopped doing all forms of weight training. But what I did do were specific exercises designed to stretch and strengthen my back.
After two months on this program and combined with daily walking, I felt ready to add weight bearing exercises. The first exercise I added were push ups. I started with a modified version and gradually added more repetitions. Eventually, I was able to do the standard military version and a variety of different push ups designed to build core strength.
Here are the steps I used to restore my health, strength and eliminate my aching back.
- First got my doctor's approval.
- Then I started slow with very low reps (5) and slowly increased the repetitions.
- I started with wall push ups to minimize the strain on my back muscles.
- Slowly I progressed to knee push ups and then to more demanding military and other harder variations.
- My routine was limited to twice a week. This gave my body plenty of time to rest.
- I paid attention to form and listened to my body. If I felt tired or sore I just skipped the weight bearing exercises and only did my stretches.
Now obviously everyone is different and every back problem may not respond well to push ups. It is critical to first identify exactly what is causing your aching back. See your doctor and follow his recommendations. I am a big advocate about the power of the body to heal itself and the benefits of doing specific exercises that correct and eliminate back pain. Once you have accomplished these things then starting a strength building program that includes pushups can really make a difference in how you feel and how you look.
Need more reasons why this is such a great exercise? Consider these facts.
- They can be done anywhere.
- They require no special equipment.
- Most of us know how to do them and there are plenty of free videos online to help.
- There are so many different variations that you will never get bored.
- You will build core strength.
- Following the steps above you will relieve and eliminate back pain.
Today at 67 1/2 years old they remain my favorite body weight exercise. Why, because in my humble opinion they work! So can they work for you? As I said earlier maybe, but if you start slow I do believe push ups can be an important part of your exercise program. I hope these suggestions work for you. Building and maintaining a strong, healthy and painfree body is a life time practice, but one which can reap many benefits.