Not all gym exercises are suitable for people with scoliosis. Although part of the treatment consists of doing physical activity, it must be moderate and adapted to each one’s needs. Even to the extent possible, it is best to be supervised by a professional.
Scoliosis is a lateral deviation of the spine that disrupts body posture. It frequently occurs during the growth period, before puberty. However, it can also affect adults, especially women.
According to the curvature, it usually has a C or S shape and can occur on both sides or different places of the spine. Do you wonder how to train in the gym? Find out!
Exercises you can do in the gym if you have scoliosis
If you are a patient with scoliosis, you may have already been contraindicated by strenuous exercise or any form of physical activity that involves too much effort. However, that does not mean that you have to be sedentary or give up the gym.
As an article in the Cochrane Library compiles, there are specific exercises favorable in scoliosis; in fact, they can not only be practiced in the gym, but also at home.
They help to strengthen the muscles that surround the spine and whose function is to stabilize the body. In turn, they mitigate symptoms typical of this condition, such as the sensation of pressure and pain. Do you dare to practice them?
1. Pelvic lift
The pelvic lift, also known as a “bridge,” is one of the exercises you can do in the gym if you have scoliosis. It does not require specific machines, and its intensity can be varied according to physical capacity.
A study published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science determined that its practice helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles and, in turn, contributes to the rehabilitation of patients with trunk instability and low back pain.
How to do it?
- To begin, lie on your end, with your knees bent and your feet level on the ground.
- Next, tighten your abdominal muscles and make sure to keep your back straight on the floor.
- Raise your pelvis toward the ceiling and hold for 5 seconds.
- Then go back to the floor and do 2 sets of 10 reps.
2. Arm and leg raises
Lumbar strengthening exercises are ideal for the rehabilitation of people with scoliosis. So if you are afflicted with this condition, you can include arm and leg raises or “superman” in your gym routine.
According to a study reported in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, this activity is useful for strengthening the lumbar spine’s stabilizing muscles. In turn, it seems to serve as an adjunct to reduce spinal fatigue.
What should you do?
- First, lie look down on the ground.
- Then, extend your arms over your head, palms flat on the floor.
- Make sure your legs are straight and starting from this position, lift one of your arms off the ground. Simultaneously, raise the opposite leg.
- Hold the pose for 1 or 2 full breaths, drop to the ground, and repeat the exercise with your opposite arm and leg.
- Do about 15 repetitions on each side.
3. kettlebell weight lifting
In the gym, there is a tool known as kettlebell or kettlebell, whose use has become popular due to the benefits it provides. In particular, it works the dorsal and abdominal muscles, which help give stability to the body.
Its basic movements, such as swing, start, and load, involve various muscle groups. In turn, it works coordination and increases resistance and balance. This will undoubtedly be beneficial in the case of scoliosis.
What should you do?
- These weights are available in various sizes. In the case of scoliosis, the ideal is not to exceed 10 kilograms. Even the best thing is that you consult with the professional since this can vary depending on your particular case.
- The classic exercise is performed with a single kettlebell. You put the weight between your knees and, from there, carry it over your head in one movement. Be certain to keep your backbone straight.
- Perform about 10 or 12 repetitions, in 2 sets.
4. Abdominal press
Working the core, that is, the area covering the entire abdominal region and the lower back favors the rehabilitation of patients with spinal deviation. The abdominal press is an exercise that fulfills this function; in fact, it helps improve posture.
What should you do?
- Lie on your end, with your bones bent and your feet on the ground.
- Keep your back in a neutral position, so you don’t feel the tension.
- Then lift both lower legs to a 90-degree angle.
- Now use your hands to push your knees down as you contract your abdominal muscles. In turn, push your knees towards your hands, so that you achieve a static exercise. In short, neither the legs nor the arms should move when pressed; they only have to force each other to tighten the abdomen.
- Hold for 3 full breaths and relax.
- Then do 2 collections of 10 reps apiece.
5. Short abs with the stability ball
Short crunch or crunch crunches on a stability ball help strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles. Therefore, it is one of the gym exercises that you can practice if you have an alteration in the shape of the spine.
What should you do?
- First, lie on your back on the stability ball (same as the Pilates ball).
- Ensure the ball is under your back, and your feet are on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Put your hands behind your head and, from this pose, squeeze your glutes, and raise your upper body.
- Bring your chin up to your chest, lower in one smooth motion, and repeat.
- Complete 2 sets of 15 repetitions.
What exercises should I avoid if I have scoliosis?
While the exercises mentioned help you in scoliosis, other activities increase the risk of secondary injuries or more severe symptoms. These include the following:
- Football and American football.
- Gymnastics and ballet.
- Bounce on a trampoline.
- Long-distance racing on hard surfaces.
- Lifting heavy weights (bodybuilding).
- Horse trips.
Gym exercises and scoliosis: professional supervision is important
The characteristics of scoliosis are not the same in all patients. Therefore, whenever you suspect this condition, it is best to see a doctor. Sometimes symptoms improve with self-care measures and exercises. However, some cases require other treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, and surgery.
However, the practice of moderate exercise is advised as part of the rehabilitation process. The activities that strengthen the core are usually the most suitable in these cases. In any case, the ideal is to seek advice from a professional trainer in the gym, as poor execution of the exercises can backfire.