(The following info are gathered from my own training experience, please for any serious and medical inquiry contact your doctor, take my advice as what it is!) When I started stretching my back I didn't think of wearing a back warmer, mainly because I didn't know I needed it or what it was for. Well now I know why it's great to wear a back warmer, some simple reasons are:
- Keeps your back warm throughout your training session (warmth=happy, cooperative muscles and joints)
- Helps as support for the spine
- Gently compress (another way of supporting)
- Gives you a feeling of security and protection
So far I tried 6 different ones, and I got down to 2-3 that I really love. Here's a picture of all of them:
The first I got is the long black one on the right, the material feels like the one of a wetsuit, it's thick and makes you sweat easily, but doesn't stay in place well.
The second one I got is the white one on top, I love this one especially in the winter because it's made of wool so it's super warm, also it compresses lightly your core and gives some support as well. I got it on Amazon. I used it many times as you can tell it's pretty worn out lol.
The third one is on the bottom left, with the vertical white band. It's a common type of back belt for gymnastics, I think it got it on Amazon as well, it's lightweight and provides some support, definitely one of my top choices year round!
The one beside it was a present from Japan, I love to wear it when I do long flights, keeps the back really comfy and warm and it's incredibly soft, more than fleece! But I don't wear it often to workout, I like it mostly for general comfort (great when you're on your period as well).
The blue and yellow back warmer on top left is simple, pretty warm and made of fleece, only thing is it gets loose over time, and doesn't compress/support much.
The pink and black one has been my latest addition, and I got it after long searching. I went through a phase where I needed way more support on my lower back (sore days, strain etc). At first I thought it was an impractical corset, or waist trimmer with no real useful qualities ... Then I did some research about the brand and I found out that Tecnomed, the brand of this belt, belongs to an orthopedic company based in Colombia (which reassured me on the quality of the product). I went for it and I really, really loved it. On days where bending would be so uncomfortable and painful (again for different reasons: late nights, no sleep, sore days, strained muscle, tension, overall a tight angry low back etc) I found so much help and support. Here's an example of how this back belt helped me alleviate low back compression and helped me reach deeper in other parts of my spine (middle,upper back):
You can tell in the bottom picture, how the lower back is lifted and relieved from pressure, especially on S1-L5 joint, which is the joint connecting Sacrum to lowest lumbar vertebrae, while the thoracic area is more involved in the bend.
Now, don't forget that on regular training days, you still need to work using your own core muscles to lift and support the lower back, avoiding vertebrae "squishing". You don't want to get used to the belt or you'll get weaker on that area. But, on days where you need that extra help and support, this belt is just GREAT. And not only for training yourself, but when assisting others, doing house chores etc. and you really don't need to tire your back.
So to sum it up, I would suggest the following belts/back warmers: 2, 3, 4, 5.
I woldn't suggest belt #1.
I would suggest belt #6 if you:
- train intensely
- are healing from small injury but need to keep up with training (ask your doctor if you have a medical condition!)
- wants to isolate low back and work more on middle/upper spinal extension
- have your period or are particularly stiff some days on low back
- lift heavy objects, need low back protection, assist others training
If you are interested in this belt, you can buy it at Fajastecnomed and get 10% off using code Sofia2015.
Happy, safe bending !