Exercise video recommendations for lame 30-somethings with sore backs?
February 12, 2014 1:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a couple good exercise videos that will help me increase my core strength and then hopefully alleviate my lower back pain. My abs have been weak ever since I had a baby, and now that said baby is a 25 pound squirming mass of toddler muscle, I have pretty chronic back pain from constantly picking him up and hauling him around. I'm looking for a video that I can do in my basement after the kiddo goes to bed, and one that requires minimal equipment. I've taken pilates classes in the past and liked it - yoga was always kind of boring to me, but I'm willing to try it out again. The DVD selections at my local library trend toward senior citizen chair exercise videos, so any specific video recommendations would be much appreciated.

Or, any pro tips on how to pick up heavy, often uncooperative toddlers?
posted by Maarika to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm biased to yoga, but I would give it another shot. Try a yoga that is more focused on strength building - you'll build your core and your back muscles while also training your body to move and support itself in ways which are less straining, i.e. using your whole body to pick up the toddler and not just the back.

I've always been partial to Rodney Yee videos. Not too woo, a great workout. Yoga Burn is really good.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:23 PM on February 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I also am trying to build core strength after having a baby (14 months ago!). I am not at all well versed in exercise DVD options but I really like the Gaiam Abs Yoga for beginners. It's kind of slow but challenging. The exercises are done sitting and laying on the floor and mostly use lifting of legs to work the core. I find this easier to do in safe form than crunches or fast routines. I need tips if lifting the squirmy toddler chunk now too! Good luck!

Edit: yep, just checked the abs yoga is Rodney Yee!
posted by Swisstine at 1:25 PM on February 12, 2014

I like Mark Lauren's approach, but I only have the book and the app, and have not used the videos. I'm still on "novice" level, and I have found that it's now no problem to lift and carry big stacks of books, the 40-pound bag of dog food, etc. I haven't tried anything that squirms, though.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 1:36 PM on February 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you need to exercise your back more than you need to work your abs. I think the reason that your back is sore is because it needs to be strengthened for all that toddler-lifting. A lot of people work hard on their abs and completely ignore their back, which can lead to more back problems. Abs probably receive more attention than they deserve (call it the "Six Pack Effect") and back often gets short shrift.

I can't recommend any videos, because that's not how I workout. But I can recommend an exercise that requires zero equipment. The one I'm thinking of is called the superman. It involves lying almost spread eagle on your stomach, performing the exercise by elevating your head, feet and hands off the floor while keeping knees and elbows straight. If the basic move does not prove challenging enough, there are variations out there that are harder, and you can always strap on ankle and wrist weights to really get a burn going.

I know I didn't answer the question you asked, so apologies for that, but I still think this could be useful information for you. I recommend checking out youtube instructional videos for proper form, as well as other variations and exercises for working the lower back.
posted by Edgewise at 2:16 PM on February 12, 2014

I recently signed up for Pilates Anytime. It's fantastic. Lots of great videos for mat Pilates. I've loved every single one I've done so far! They have dance-based Pilates, 30-60 minute sessions, focusing on different parts of the body, etc. Lots of variety. It's about $18/month but being able to change it up makes it worthwhile for me.
posted by barnone at 2:58 PM on February 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would suggest getting a referral to a physical therapist. They can nail down where the trouble is and recommend specific exercises to address the specific problems you have.
posted by Dansaman at 5:16 PM on February 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Good call on the physical therapy referral! I will get that process rolling tomorrow and request some Rodney Yee videos from the library in the meantime. Thanks, all.
posted by Maarika at 5:44 PM on February 12, 2014

Also came in to suggest Pilates Anytime and also Yoga Anytime. There is also a great dvd by Dr. Eric Goodman called Foundations Training.
posted by vignettist at 8:08 PM on February 12, 2014

Seconding PT, and recommending looking into McGill's Big 3.

I wouldn't touch yoga with a 10-foot pole with a bad back.
posted by moira at 8:17 PM on February 12, 2014

Here's a link that is a little clearer about the Big 3.

You can make each of these easier or harder.
posted by moira at 8:22 PM on February 12, 2014

I know I'm late to the party, but I like Collage Video for when it comes to learning about exercise videos. They have great reviews, a way to filter by what you want and what you don't want, etc.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 3:56 AM on February 13, 2014

Response by poster: Marking as resolved - I went to physical therapy, got some helpful exercises to realign my out of whack pelvis, and got the all clear to do pilates videos in my basement. I will be working through the recommendations above. Thanks, folks.
posted by Maarika at 6:00 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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