There are different types of exercise for different people with different goals. Some movement affects the bone in a positive way but not in a strengthening way. For example, doing exercise in water keeps the muscles active and supple but although swimmers typically have strong backs, aquatic exercise will not build bone due to the weightlessness of the medium.
The Yoga Warrior Positions Build Back Strength
These postures also reflect current strength. Specifically, standing in warrior 2 with the pelvis tucked under and a deep bend on the forward leg while the upper body is upright with a minimal twist of the spine as arms are stretched to either side requires weight on the hips increasing not only surrounding muscles but bone as well. The spine sinking down while rising upward develops backbone in both a literal and figurative sense.
If the strength isn’t there to stand and support the upper body on the platform of the pelvis and legs, use a chair. Face a wall with the legs in warrior 2 position and arms supporting the raised straightened back by pressing into the wall. If possible, use a chair as a support in standing position of warrior 2.
Reversing the warrior increases the spine stretch while rising upward separating the vertebrae using the hips and extended legs as a platform. Holding these positions for five long breaths, a power yoga position strengthens bone and back.
Downward facing Dog and the Back’s Vertebrae
Downward facing dog, although ostensibly a resting pose and a stretch, invigorates the vertebrae. Raise the leg up toward the back of the room with the hips squared, then take the leg out to the side wall using the strength of the back to support the leg at the side and returning it to the back. Repeat two to four times and reverse with the other leg.
Spine Strengthening Exercises for a Strong Back
Lying flat on the back, raise first one leg and then the other to join it, elevated approximately 45 degrees without raising the back from the floor/ground. Tucking the pelvis helps to maintain the back along the mat, thus strengthening without otherwise manipulating the backbones.
Strengthening the abdominal muscles is protection for the back, but doing crunches isn’t recommended for anyone with back problems. In fact, crunches frequently cause more problems then strengthen. Lifting the pelvis toward the back while standing in mountain actually increases both abdominal muscle work and the spine strengthening exercises needed. Swoop forward in straight back toward the floor being careful not to bend the back.
Spine Strengthening Tips for a Safe Exercise Program
Pelvic tilt, wheel or bridges are also excellent spine strengthening exercises. Some general spine building advice incorporates the following:
- Strengthening muscles and bone sometimes needs a vacation day so don’t do the same exercise each day.
- Exhale on the effort or to deepen the bend or stretch. Never ever hold breaths while doing any pose.
- Be careful adding weights to any program to build bone strength.
- Discuss the plan with a yoga teacher who has worked with injuries or potential injuries such as with those who have arthritis or osteoporosis. If insurance will cover the costs, sometimes a physical therapist can offer excellent advice and support.
- Spine strength can be increased regardless of the situation or ability to walk or balance. With effort there will be improvement.
- Bone is tissue and can develop with movement and weight baring exercise.
- Healthy diet plays a role with exercise in keeping the back strong.