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Keep Your Lower Back Strong for Pole Dance

By on December 31, 2017

Maybe this is sounds like an obvious question, but do you know what the lower back is?

It’s the area of your back that starts just below the ribcage. It consists of the lumbar vertebrae and ends with the sacrum bones. It is usually referred to as the lumbar region or lumbosacral region and it’s a very important part of our body when it comes to completing activities of daily living. It is also important for pole dancing.

When we have lower back pain, it’s usually related to this part of our body, and boy can it hurt! It can also get very annoying and keep us from our normal daily routines. The Spine Health website says that lower back pain is mostly caused by an injury to a muscle, which is called a strain, or an injury to a ligament, known as a sprain.

What causes lower back pain?

Spine Health lists common causes such as: improper lifting, poor posture, lack of regular exercise, fracture, ruptured disc, or arthritis. “Most low back pain goes away in two to four weeks. Physiotherapy and pain relievers can help. A few cases may require surgery”, they explain.

But, in pole dance, what causes this type of pain? Carlos Poliakoff is a physical therapist from Argentina who specializes in circus and pole dance artists. He explains on his Facebook Page Pole Mode On that lower back pain and injuries are the most common in the dance world.

“Pole dance practitioners are athletes who can develop injuries because of long training sessions and repetitive movements”, Carlos says. “Low back injuries are frequent in pole dancers because the activity demands a lot of effort from this part of the body”, he continues.

What do you need your lower back muscles for?

Female pole dancer posing in dark studio by Andrey Bezuglov on 500px.com

 


The Online Physical Therapy website (Fisioterapia Online) has a lot of information on common injuries in the lower back region. They explain that we use these muscles mostly when we are standing straight on both of our feet. “The muscle fibers contract from both the right and left side to avoid a decline of the pelvis to one side and lose our balance.

The lower back also allows you to extend your spine, “therefore a paralysis of these muscles could make it hard to keep in an upright position”. Carlos Poliakoff says that, for example, whenever you want to do extreme postures to extend your leg (like in a cocoon or an eagle trick), you are activating your lower back region, and of course, you could get hurt if you do it in excess or have weak back muscles.

In my case, I don’t have a very flexible back and I’ve hurt my lower back muscles doing pole dance. The reason is because my muscles in this region of my body are not strong from working in a sitting position in front of the computer almost all day for more than 10 years. This makes the lower back muscles extend and relax since they are not activated while supporting you, like if you were on your feet. Therefore, I’ve been told by physical therapists that I have basically NO muscle tone there!

So, when I do pole dance, or any other physical activity, it’s very easy for me to hurt myself since I don’t have the kind of support I need in my lower back. I have also realized that these are the muscles that help me keep my leg up in an arabesque position in ballet (I’m also a ballet dancer), and since they are not strong, it’s VERY hard for me to do these kind of things today.

Me doing a performance back in 2002 when I had stronger lower back muscles

So, how have I dealt with it? By strengthening this part of my body, which is also what Carlos and physical therapy websites recommend, especially, for preventing injuries.

Lower back strengthening exercises

Carlos Poliakoff states that the best way to prevent any injury in your lower back muscles is by paying attention to your posture habits. You can also get regular massages to free tension and stress, and do a lot of stretching.

Web MD has a list of exercises you can do at home to improve your lower back and avoid pain. They also say that if you do have pain already, the best thing is not to rest, but to move your body! Remember to ask your healthcare professional before attempting any of these exercises.

Partial Crunches

They help strengthen your back and stomach muscles at the same time. You need to lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest or put your hands behind your neck. Tighten your stomach muscles and raise your shoulders off the floor. Hold for a second and slowly lower back down. Repeat from 8 to 12 times.

Hamstring stretches

Lie on your back and bend one knee. Then, raise your other leg, and with a towel wrapped around your foot straighten your knee and gently pull back the towel. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.

Wall sits

This one seems easy but it’s not. Still it’s super effective since it helps you work out your quadriceps as well as your lower back. Stand 10 to 12 inches from the wall, lean back until your back is flat against it and slide down until you’re like in a sitting position. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly slide back up the wall. You can repeat 8 to 12 times.

Press-up back extensions (Cobra)

Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and push the floor to lift your shoulders from the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds.

Bird dog

This is one of my favorites and I do it as much as I can during the week. Start on your hands and knees and lift one leg behind you. Hold for a few seconds and then do it with the other leg.

Lifting weights may help too if done properly, but you should consult with your doctor first. Aerobic exercise is also great for your lower back. You can try walking, swimming and biking in short sessions that you can build up over time.

While there are exercises that can help with back strengthening, there are others that won’t help if you have pain. These are: toe touches; sit-ups; and leg lifts. Avoid doing these while you’re feeling pain.

Have you suffered from lower back pain before? If so, what have you done to improve it?

 

 

Pole Dance Venezuela (www.poledancevenezuela.org)@poledancev @s0natagrl

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Ermelinda Maglione
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Ermelinda Maglione

I'm a Venezuelan pole addict and a digital journalist. Combining these two passions together I've created a monster hehe. I love to write about controversial pole topics, give tips, do interviews and organize pole events in my country.
Ermelinda Maglione
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