Most of us know the feeling of a tight lower back. It is a familiar and unpleasant feeling many people that participate in CrossFit experience. It may have been caused by heavy deadlifts, back squats, or even kettle bell swings. Maybe you don’t even have the slightest clue why your back seems to be in pain or increasingly tight and uncomfortable. It could be due to sitting at a desk all day or even poor posture.
Our back is part of our posterior chain, which includes the glutes and hamstrings. Sometimes, it is not even our lower back that is causing the problem. When other muscles in the posterior chain are super tight (i.e. hamstrings), it can pull on the lower back, causing discomfort. There are many stretches that can help alleviate the tightness and discomfort, which we outline below. If you need assistance, always feel free to ask a coach. Whether you are needing additional stretches or you don’t understand how to do the stretches listed below, just ask a coach and they can demonstrate for you or give you different stretches to try.
Disclaimer: If you have ongoing back problems and are under the care of a doctor, please consult with your doctor before performing any stretches.
Legs Up Wall: Laying flat on your back, scoot your butt until it is against the wall. Extend your legs up the wall, making a 90 degree angle with your upper body. try to straighten your legs, but keep a slight bend in the knees. Focus on keeping your entire back and hips flush against the ground.
Number 4 Stretch: Laying flat on your back, put your left foot against the wall with the knee bent. Cross your right ankle over your left quad. Try to relax in the position. You should feel this through your right hip and leg. Switch legs when you are ready.
Child’s Pose: Start on your hands and knees on the ground. Then, spread your knees wide while keeping your big toes touching, and push your butt and hips back to your heels. Keep your arms outstretched in front of you and your forehead resting on the ground. Make sure to pull your shoulders away from your ears and relax completely. Another option is to keep your knees together and rest your arms by your side with your forehead on the ground, like a little turtle.
Seated Side Twist: Sitting on the ground, outstretch both legs in front of you. Draw up your left knee to your chest and cross your foot over your right quad, placing your foot on the ground. Turn to your right and cradle your left knee in the pit of your left elbow. Place right hand slightly behind your right glute and look over your right shoulder.
Single Knee Cradle: Laying flat on your back with legs outstretched, pull your left knee up into your chest while keeping your right leg straight. Hold with both hands (on shin) for 10-15 seconds, then switch legs.
Double Knee Cradle: Laying flat on your back with legs outstretched, pull both knees up into your chest and hug with both arms. In this position you can rock side to side, or back and forth, massaging your back on the ground.
T Stretch: Laying flat on your back, outstretch your arms, making a “T” with your body. Lift up your right leg straight into the air, then slowly cross your right leg over your left and let it come down towards the opposite arm/hand. Hold for a few seconds, then switch legs.