View Full Version : Lower Back Prehab

Matthieu Hertilus
06-02-2009, 09:41 AM
I find that my lower back aches tremendously even during warm-up drills (burgener warm up, Javorian complex, etc)). I do basic Dynamic Range of Motion movements and foam roll before starting yet my lower back still aches. Any suggestions on prehab drills/ stretches I should be doing or is this a bigger problem?

Steven Low
06-02-2009, 09:52 AM
Is the problem muscular or spiny/bony?

If it's the former then get a deep tissue massage and/or stretch + foam roll

If it's the latter you might wanna see a doc or take it easy on the exercise...

Blair Lowe
06-02-2009, 11:48 PM
How's your sleep position ( do you sleep on your side or stomach )? How much sitting?

Hang from a bar or rings and do sideways straddle swings and hip circles. Can help and loosen things up. Good for shoulders and neck too.

I've always been partial to doing seal stretches and yoga plow thingie in my warmup besides those side twisting things ( scorpion? ) or windshield wipers on back. A lot of this was caused by a lot of sitting in my car during a commute, I think.

Matthieu Hertilus
06-03-2009, 07:30 AM
Thanks for the advice. I usually sleep on my side, and unfortunately I do a lot of sitting as I spend a lot of time writing and researching. At this point I'm being very careful about it by shifting all my focus to a stable core when I lift and including some iron crosses in my warm-up. Anyone have any thoughts on heat or ice therapy for the lower back?

Steven Low
06-03-2009, 08:27 AM
Swelling or bony/ligament/tendon = ice
Muscle = heat

Emily Mattes
06-03-2009, 10:49 AM
I had been having tightness and soreness issues in my lower back that rolling, heat, Icy Hot, and any amount of stretching wasn't helping. The onset came when I started hitting a heavy squat period in my programming AND spent a lot more time sitting in the car due to a move.

A friend of mine with the same issues told me to start stretching my glutes more, like ridiculously more--the first couple of days I did maybe twenty minutes a day of just glute stretching, holding each stretch for five minutes before switching. It has worked great. Perhaps try stretching out the glutes and hamstrings? His theory was inflexible glutes were pulling the lower back down and preventing a proper lumbar curve.

Neill Smith
06-03-2009, 11:06 AM
I'll second hip mobility helping with lower back issues. Lately I've been doing a simple 20-minute hip stretching four days a week, and the back pain is gone.

Now if I could just resolve my neck issues...

BTW, Emily, what stretches are you using?

Matthieu Hertilus
06-03-2009, 11:15 AM
That's a lot of stretching Emily, but if it worked for you, I will certainly take your word from it as I've also been suffering from it during training cycles that involved heavy squats. I may try switching up back squats with trapbar deadlifts off a riser and good mournings just to take a break from the exercise itself. Thanks for the input Emily.

Patrick Haskell
06-04-2009, 09:14 AM
Emily's experiene is similar to mine. This was a particular aggravation when I combined heavy cleans or DLs with long hours sitting, especially in the car, where mobility is particularly constrained. The stretch that does the best for me is a psoas stretch (http://onlinehealthedge.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/dsc01466.JPG)(think sampson stretch with a 45-degree turn and gentle bend away from the rear leg). (It's suprisingly hard to find a decent image of this particular stretch, given how easy it is to find stretches for the so-called iliopsoas that don't do as much for the psoas, because the iliacus takes the brunt of the stretch.

Glute stretches that are a variant (http://www.womansday.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/galleries-slideshows/yoga-for-everyone/yoga-for-your-hips-pigeon-pose-variation-ii/47631-1-eng-US/Yoga-for-Your-Hips-Pigeon-Pose-Variation-II_slideshow_image.jpg)of pigeon pose (http://www.nestacertified.com/images/sport-yoga-pigeon-pose.jpg) seem to help as well. There's little doubt that having more flexible hamstrings couldn't hurt me either.

Craig Brown
06-04-2009, 09:15 PM
I've had good luck with yoga, but also by using HAM and HUG from Mountain Athlete (http://mtnathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=14) a few times a day. I've started a number of folks on just those with good results.

Emily Mattes
06-05-2009, 04:37 PM
I lie on my back with my feet up against a wall or couch, knees at a 90-degree angle. Then I cross one foot over the opposite knee to form a triangle, and gentle push against the crossed knee while pulling the foot towards me. Looks like this. (http://www.drillsandskills.com/stretching/Glute/gt002) This guy (http://www.drillsandskills.com/stretching/Glute/gt001) works for me too.

It is a lot of stretching, but if I just grab a book and read it while using the other arm to push the stretch the time goes by fast.

Ben Fury
06-14-2009, 11:44 PM
Looks like this. (http://www.drillsandskills.com/stretching/Glute/gt002) This guy (http://www.drillsandskills.com/stretching/Glute/gt001) works for me too.

It is a lot of stretching, but if I just grab a book and read it while using the other arm to push the stretch the time goes by fast.

You can get a lot more done in less time with Active Isolated Stretching (book by Aaron Mattes pp 49-68) lower body stretches. Worked on three dancers yesterday and all three were shocked how much we got through in the narrow time window they had to stretch. Made some serious gait improvement and really reduced some low back pain that had become extremely annoying for the one. Also worked hard on restoring some much needed hip internal rotation and hip extension. Ballet training really beats folks up!!

Billy Millar
12-23-2009, 04:34 PM
I'll second the HAM/HUG drills from Mtn Athlete.

Something else that has helped me tremendously since my injury has been sitting on a leg press machine (Gasp! I know, anathema!) with like 50 lbs on it, and doing 30 sec holds at the bottom position, and when I'm here I scoot the seat all the way forward so that my knees end up by my ears almost, and then 30 seconds with my legs stretched all the way out, for like 15-30 reps. The whole thing takes about 5 minutes, and when I'm done, I'm flexible like Gumby.

Something about being seated at that angle, with a small amount of weight on my heels stretches a part of my low back I can't hit any other way. My .02.

Gittit Shwartz
12-25-2009, 01:00 PM
Rehabbing the lower back (http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/06/rehabilitating-lower-back-bill-starr.html) by... Bill Starr

I started doing this routine after injuring my lower back (muscle injury) and found it made all the difference in how my back felt the rest of the day. I still try to do a short version in the morning or as part of my warmup.

If I'm going to be back bridging, I warm up further with a few sets of deadlifts, 3-5 reps at about 80% of my 1RM. I'm not sure why, but my lower back gets really unhappy if I don't.