Low back tightness is common.

Feeling some tightness in the low back is not uncommon. The reasons why the back can be tight are numerous. Most do not even involve the low back itself.

Other problems in the body (weakness, tightness and poor mechanics when moving) tend to manifest as low back pain. Sneaky sneaky.

Because of this, stretching the low back directly is often not the solution. I discuss some of those reasons here: http://www.ebmfitnesssolutions.com/blog/core-stabilization-tutorial

Instead, stretch the hips and hamstrings.

Tightness in the hips and hamstrings could play a role in what you feel in the low back. If you are going to stretch either, make sure you are doing the stretches correctly.

How to properly stretch your hip flexors.

How to properly stretch the hamstrings.

Stretch out the lats too.

Your lats (known formally as the latissimus dorsi) run from the low back up to the upper arm bone.

latissimus-muscle-attachments.png

Since the lats attach all over, they can cause problems all over when they are tight. And guess what? They are usually tight.

One of the ways tightness in the lats is visible is when moving the arms overhead.

In standing, when a person lifts their arms overhead (shoulder flexion), the arms stop moving (before they reach 180 degrees) and the low back arches. This gives the illusion that the shoulder range of motion is better than it really is and it shows that the lats need a little lovin’.

shoulder flexion.jpg

This same overhead movement will create the same arching in the low back when performing
exercises laying on a bench or the floor.

Understanding how to set and brace a neutral lumbar spine (see core stabilization link at the top) can help control this unwanted arching.

But, we can also work to stretch the lats directly. How do we do that? Glad you asked.

You can add this stretch into your rest breaks when working out or you can add a few stretches into your day at regular intervals.

If you are struggling with back tightness or other ailments that are preventing you from progressing your training or they prevent you from starting, let’s chat about ways to get you back on track and pain-free.

 

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