13 Aug Relieve Low Back Pain With These Movements
We know all these people. Hell, you probably are one. I was one. Sitting in front of a computer screen for hours at a time. Their only excuse for taking a break is to go to use the restroom or grab an unhealthy snack. Who am I referring to?
If you didn’t know, these are who we, as coaches, refer to as “DESK JOCKEYS.” By the end of this article, you or the desk jockey in your life will have a plan to help with back aches and pains.
Identify the Problem
Having personally trained and coached them in group classes, desk jockeys tend to have the following traits that cause pain and lead to an injury:
- Tight hip flexors
- Weak/underutilized glute muscles
- Overstretched hamstrings
- Weak core muscles
They’re usually signs of Anterior Pelvic Tilt (APT). During APT, the forward rotation of the pelvis causes the forward portion of the iliac to move lower to the back. It looks like someone is pushing his or her ass out.
As this happens, your abdominal muscles are in a stretched position, weakening your anterior core and oblique muscles. Therefore, your glutes never work, and the hamstrings are stretched continuously because they have no other place to go. You can fix the problem by doing the following:
- Stretching the hip flexors
- Strengthening your glutes and hamstrings
- Strengthening your core
Loosen Up Your Hip Flexors
Have you ever seen someone walking whose upper body leans forward over their feet? Their hip flexors are actively pulling them in that direction. Prolonged sitting is the main culprit behind the problem. The simplest way to get rid of the tightness is to perform a Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch.
- While in position, focus on maintaining a straight back. Look forward and keep your chest high.
- Tighten the glute on the side of the knee that is down. This ensures that you don’t lean forward and create an additional curve in the spine.
- After your glute is in constant tension, try to lean forward. There should be zero forward movements as the glute has locked you in place and allows your hip flexor to be fully stretched without compensation.
- You should hold the stretch on each side for 30-60 seconds, 2-3 times each day.
- As shown in the picture above, you can get an added stretch by pinning your leg against a bench.
Strengthen Glutes + Hamstrings
The Glute Bridge is a fundamental exercise that promotes recruitment of the glute and hamstrings muscle. The two are part of your posterior chain. As APT occurs, your posterior chain is essentially turned off. Enter this exercise, and everything gets turned back on.
- While lying on the floor, keep your feet straight and close together.
- You want to lift your hips, tighten the core, and contract the glutes and hamstrings at the top.
- Hold the top position for 3-4 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
- Perform three sets of 12-15 reps.
As the exercise becomes more natural, you can prop your feet on a bench. This will effectively extend the eccentric portion of the exercise (lowering of the hip), which makes your glutes and hamstrings work harder.
Strengthen Your Core
To make your core stronger, we need to create max tension. Regular planks shouldn’t be the standard of core strength or endurance. If you can do one for 60 seconds, move on to RKC Planks. We can create max core tension and get your glutes to fire with this exercise.
- Keep your feet together tight enough to where you could fit a credit card between them.
- Squeeze your butt cheeks in the same fashion as your feet.
- Keep your hands apart and pull in opposite directions.
- Suck your gut in, tightening your abdominal muscles.
- Maintain a neutral spine while keeping your nose in front of your hands.
What Else Should You Be Doing?
Foam roll your hip flexors and quads, plus stretch your hips in addition to what’s laid out in this post. The Pigeon Pose is an excellent way to stretch your hips, glutes, and loosen up the lower back.
Also, stay away from ab exercises that involve flexion (bringing your knees or legs inward). You’re only making the problem worse.