The low back is one of the most common injuries for runners. Do you focus on strengthening your low back? Today I want to talk about both strengthening and injury prevention.

Stephanieruns Fitness

October 21, 2018 Newsletter

Is Running Bad For Your Back?

The low back is one of the most common injuries for runners. Does that mean that running is bad for you back? No, but it does mean that you need to focus strengthening your back. You also need to ensure you are adding in components of injury prevention. This is true for any part but today we are going to focus on your low back.

Your low back is part of your core. Your core includes more than just your abdominals. Your core includes your abdominals, your obliques and your low back. Your core helps supports  and stabilize your posture you while you are running. You can think of your low back as a passive muscle while running but any weaknesses or imbalances can affect other muscle groups. If you don't have strong glutes and low back your hamstrings can't generate enough muscular power while you're running even if you have the strength in your hamstrings. This means working on strengthening your hamstrings without focusing on your glutes and low back will make you a less efficient runner as you can't utilize the full strength of your hamstrings.

I'm a big believer in injury prevention, sometimes called pre-habbing instead of rehabbing. Spending time on injury prevention will help you avoid rehabbing and being off running for an extended period of time. Generally for muscular low back injuries the recommendation is to continue moving when injured. Gone are the days where you spend days or weeks in bed not moving (for most injuries.) If you do injure your low back, or any body part I'd recommend seeking medical attention and starting active rehab as soon as possible. If you're prone to low back injuries there's a possibility you could have a muscular imbalance. You can always see a physiotherapist or personal trainer to assess for muscular imbalances and get help with a strength training plan.

Strength training your low back if you're a runner makes sense, but you don't want to strength train in isolation. The core is very much attached to both the upper and low body. Your glutes and upper back are just as important and work together with your lower back. My recommendation for strength training for runners is for you to work on your full body. If you only have one day a week for strength training I'd recommend a full body workout. If you have two days you could do one upper body and one lower body workout. When you are strength training it's important to remember to work opposing muscle groups. This will help you avoid muscular imbalances which can lead to injury. When runners strength train their core there can be a tendency to focus on the abdominals. Try to either use compound exercises, like a plank vs a sit up especially if you're short on time.

I believe that strength training will make you a stronger, faster more efficient runner. It will also help you prevent injuries. The key is to work all of your muscles. The low back doesn't work alone when you're running, which means when you're lifting weights you need to think of more than just your low back.


Weekly Challenge: Warm Up!

An easy way to reduce your risk of injury as a runner is to do a dynamic warm up and a long cool down. A warm up prepares your body and muscles for your workout. Running or working out without warming up is like running your car without oil. Your cool down prepares your body to recover from your workout. Stopping your workout abruptly will not serve you and could lead to injuries.

This week's challenge is to make sure you warm up and cool down. Here are some ideas to add into your dynamic warm up. You can also use sun salutations as part of your warm up.

1) step ups (use a bench, chair or stair and step up)

2) side step ups (turn to the side and step up, don't forget to switch sides)

3) lateral shuffle

4) leg swings (all directions)

5) arm circles (small and large)

6) arm swings

7) twisting on your spine (standing looking in front of you, twist on your spine and look behind you)

I want to hear about your warm ups and cool downs! Send me a tweet @srunsfitness or e-mail me at

Last Week to Sign Up for my Fall/Winter Coaching

This is the last week to sign up for my fall/winter running and strength training coaching program. I do also train athletes on a monthly basis (3 month minimum) but this program is designed to help you reach your goals from November 4, 2018 to February 2, 2019.

I'll work with you virtually to help you with running and strength training. I'll take the time to get to know you and your training needs. I want to know what has worked and what hasn't. I will help you identify a goal or goals to work towards during our time together. You will get your weekly running and strength training workouts uploaded to your Training Peak's account weekly. Training Peaks lets you communicate how your workouts are going plus provides me with the information I need to adjust your training program.

You can contact me by e-mail at any time and we can schedule weekly calls to answer your questions and discuss your progress. I'm here to support you every step of the way. Think of the runner you'll be in February!

You get all of this for $450 (payment plan available). I would love to work with you this fall and winter. Send me at e-mail at for more details, any questions and to sign up. 

If you have any topics you'd like me to cover in a future newsletter please let me know.

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

Website: Stephanieruns Fitness

Twitter: @srunsfitness

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.