Going back to the gym and re-embracing the habit of working out can be hard on your body if you've been inactive for a while. One of the areas in which you're bound to feel the strain is your back. But there is a difference between tired back muscles and serious back pain. As you ease back into your workout routine, follow these tips to avoid serious back pain and injuries.
See the chiropractor.
It's a good idea to see the chiropractor every week or two as you continue to build up your workout routine. This way, if you begin to get stiff and sore, your chiropractor can adjust your back and address the issue before it becomes too serious. Plus, having your spine placed back in proper alignment will make it easier for you to lift with proper, balanced form, which will decrease your risk not only of back injuries, but also other injuries of the legs and pelvis.
Ease into it slowly.
If you used to bench 200 pounds, you may be a bit embarrassed or uneasy about the fact that you can only bench 120 now. But don't let that unease push you into doing too much too quickly. When you lift too much too soon, you tend to compensate with your back. So, really take your time and make sure you always use proper form. Don't add more weight until you are very comfortable with the weight you are at and can hold proper form while lifting that weight for 5 or more reps.
Do back strengthening exercises.
To build strong legs, a strong core, and strong arms, you also need a strong back! Having a strong back will reduce your risk of injuries when working out the other parts of your body. So, dedicate at least one day a week to back strengthening exercises. You can even use the Nautilus machines at the gym if you don't feel like getting creative with free weights. There are plenty designed to target specific regions of your back.
Stretch, stretch, stretch.
When any muscles in the group you are working are tight, you tend to make up for it with your back. So, to avoid back soreness, make sure you are always working on stretching. Do some dynamic stretches before your workout, and do some static stretches afterwards. You can even dedicate one day of your workout routine to yoga, which will build back strength while also improving flexibility.