Back pain is only too common, with as much as 4/5 people in the U.K. experiencing it in some form. Throw In deadlifts, weighted crunches and somersaults into the mix and you have a concoction of potential for aggravation.
What’s the fix?
Pain remedy comes in two forms – prevention and cure. In the realms of cure you may want to veer towards osteopathy, physiotherapy or chiropractic help so this article will focus mainly on the prevention side. If in doubt always consult your doctor.
Having said that, the following stretches will provide some relief from existing pain, and may help to overcome the smaller niggles.
The easiest and most holistic method what I term the ‘dangle’ or hanging stretch.
- Take a deep breath and on exhaling reach towards your toes.
- Starting out you may want to have a slight bend in your legs or even rest some weight on a small footstool through your hands.
- Over time your aim is to hang free with your legs straight but not hyperextended.
- The key here is to use gravity to do all the work, the longer you hang the more flexible you’ll get and better relief with less future pains. Anything from 1-5 minutes is a good time here
The alternative is to hold onto an object and pull your back out specifically:
- Find an object between hip and shoulder height. The closer your arms are to your torso the higher it will target your back, the closer your arms to your ears the lower so choose your height accordingly
- Lean off your object and pull while simultaneously pushing the point in your back that’s sore as far from the object as possible
- Vary your arm and body angle to work different sides
- If working your lower back tilting your hips underneath you will improve the stretch
Prevention comes in two forms. Having over tight hamstrings (the back of your legs) may be a cause of back pains so work on your flexibility using the back and leg stretches above.
An imbalance between hips and hamstrings can be detrimental as well so work the front with stretches such as these:
While flexibility plays a part good core strength is key.
You may be thinking ‘Olympic lifts DO work the core, but these will only work to an extent and some direct core work is necessary.
Arch holds for the back and plank and dish holds for the front help build core tension so your back isn’t under as much stress when lifting heavier weights.
You can find these exercises in our gymnastics strength classes or ask Your Crossfit coach for ideas.
Work your flexibility and core strength regularly to reduce your chances of back pain, while implementing the above stretches to catch any niggles early.
You’ll many more injury preventative and feel-good stretches in our flexibility classes, or if you have problem areas and are concerned why not book into a free 1-1 taster here:
by Felix Leech
Flexibility Coach at Crossfit London / Crossfit SE11