Turn 30 and your body starts feeling different.
Rising from bed comes with a slight wince, getting out of the car after a long drive can require the Jaws of Life, and post-workout body pains can inspire blood-curling screams.
So what do we do? Give up? NO!
The following 3-Step Approach to your lower back will help insulate you from the damage we put ourselves through on a daily basis.
STEP 1: RELEASE
• Most of us attack lower back pain/stiffness at the point of contention, the lower back. However, much of our low back issues stem from the tightness that builds in our upper gluts (or top of butt). This area acts as a reservoir of tension as we sit, when we run, or when we cycle. While this buffering system helps take the impact AWAY from our lower backs in the moment, the tension build up creates chronic discomfort if not released.
• Foam Roll / Trigger Point Work: Spend 3-5 minutes (per side) introducing pressure with your foam roller (or ball) into the upper butt area. Focus on making small movements up, down, and in circles until the discomfort dissipates.
STEP 2: STABILIZE
• Before we work to strengthen the lower back, we must train the muscles to turn on. Stability training means getting our muscles to communicate more effectively. The more they talk with one another, the better they can cooperate to keep us safe and in control.
• Prone Bird-Dogs in Quadruped Position: From all 4's (quadruped position), extend opposite leg and opposite arm to full extension, hold for 1-2 seconds, release, and switch. This forces cross-spine-stabilization. Essentially, your muscles must communicate across your body to hold position. This communication trains the muscles to activate when any instability is introduced throughout your day. ADVANCED: place hand on ball, BOSU, or other unstable surface to increase difficulty.
STEP 3: STRENGTHEN
• Time to reinforce our foundation! By strengthening the muscles in our lower back (our extensors) we increase our bodies ability to protect us from low back pain. Stronger muscle = greater ability = better life experience.
• Prone Ball Pinch Activation w/Contraction: Lay flat on your stomach. Pinch a ball (pillow, watermelon, small pet) between your feet. MOVE 1: Raise your extended arms and legs off the ground (only your pelvis remains touching the ground) and hold for 1 second. MOVE 2: Curl the ball towards your butt (keeping legs off ground) and return to flat position. Repeat for 8-12 reps. Rest for 1 minute. Repeat 3-5x.