According to The American Chiropractic Association, at any given time, 31 million Americans experience lower back pain. From time to time, I am a part of those 31 million sufferers of this debilitating issue. It can affect your work, your family and your life. Not to mention it’s kind of hard to perform exercises at the gym. Many things can cause lower back pain (strains, irritated joints, ruptured/bulging discs, nerves being pinched). As far as training goes, improper/non-existent warm-up and cooldown, improper form while performing exercises and not enough rest are the main culprits. Here are some stretches I do within my own warm-ups/cooldowns that help with relieving pain.
1. Scorpion Stretch
- Lay flat on your stomach with your feet together, your arms extended outward to form a T, your palms facing down and your forehead on the ground.
- Squeeze your right glute, bend your right knee and lift your right leg as high as you can.
- Twist your hips and reach your right foot over to touch the ground on the outside of your left leg. Try to keep your arms and chest on the floor. Reverse the movement to come to the starting position, then repeat with the left leg for one rep.
2. Lying Knee Twist
- Lay on your back with your legs extended straight out.
- Bend your right knee up and cross it over the left side of your body.
- Hold in a position that allows you to feel a gentle stretch through your back and buttocks muscles for 20 seconds.
- Tighten your core muscles and rotate back to center.
3. Yoga Cat/Cow
- Start this move by kneeling on all fours with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
- Exhale and gently arch your spine. Inhale, tighten your core muscles and round your back, like a cat.
- Move slowly between movements and hold in each position for 5 to 10 seconds.
4. Child Pose
- Position yourself on the floor, on your hands and knees with your knees just wider than hip distance apart.
- Turn your toes in to touch and push your hips backward, bending your knees.
- Once you reach a comfortable seated position, extend your arms fully forward and allow your head to fall forward into a relaxation position.
- Hold this pose for 20 seconds and slowly return to your starting position. Repeat three times.
5. Samson Stretch
- Interlace your thumbs and raise your arms overhead.
- Engage your shoulders and shrug them up toward your ears.
- Step forward into a lunge with the knee of the rear leg touching the floor.
- Stretch your hands up toward the ceiling as you sink into the lunge and push your hips forward as your arms reach back behind you.
- Stand up out of the lunge and repeat on the other side.