New generations spend more time sitting down compared to their peers, and the trend is rising. This leads to lower back issues earlier in life than in previous generations. One of the best ways to combat this trend is with regular lower back mobility exercises.
Why Is Lower Back Mobility So Important?
About the Program
Our Overhead Mobility Program is a 6-week, 18-workout course that helps you permanently push past your mobility limitations and feel confident in your overhead stability.
Every week you’ll gain access to three workouts, each taking no more than 30 minutes to complete that can be done with basic gym equipment.
In total, there are over 60 unique exercises and 120 video tutorials to guide you through the course.
Additionally, there are 5 mobility tests at the beginning, middle, and end of the program designed to motivate you, track your progress and celebrate your results.
Who Is the Program For?
The Overhead Mobility Program is meant for ALL athlete levels - from beginners to competitive weightlifters.
However, it’s equally beneficial to the average person as well, even if they’re not actively training at the moment.
- 60 unique exercises and 120 video tutorials;
- 5 tests to check your mobility;
- Short sessions up to 30 minutes;
- LIFETIME access;
- Mobile friendly design;
Why Do You Need Lower Back Mobility?
Reduced Risk Of Injury
An immobile and stiff lower back is a hotspot for injuries. The lower back is a common place for sports-related injuries, but that’s not all. Something as simple as standing up too quickly, stepping unevenly, or loss of balance can lead to pain or injury with poor back mobility. Daily low back mobility exercises will prevent or at the very least minimize these issues.
As discussed, your lower back is the epicenter of balance in your entire body. A mobile lower back leads to better balance and quite literally helps keep you on your feet. Lumbar mobility exercises will have long-term benefits in our lives. Loss of balance increases as we age and is more common in senior citizens, and this can be attributed in part to lower back issues. As a result, 36 million people aged 65 or higher suffer injuries from falling each year in the U.S. alone.
The biggest problems we have with posture come from spinal issues. These problems can range from temporary issues such as tension from sitting down or sleeping unevenly, to long-term conditions such as abnormal spinal curvature AKA Scoliosis. As mentioned, the lower back contains the five largest vertebrae in your spine - a common place for Scoliosis to develop in today’s sitting-down culture.
Performing lower back mobility stretches will have lasting positive effects on your posture and improve spinal health.
Improved Daily Life
The Best Lower Back Mobility Exercises
Arguably the most important exercise for lower back mobility and mobility is regular stretching.
Stretches are a low-impact exercise that can be performed before or after your workout, or as a workout by themselves - such as Yoga.
Here are seven of the best lower back mobility stretches you can do at home, by yourself, without the need for workout equipment.
Also referred to as the Cat-Dog stretch. To perform the exercise, start on all fours with a straight bag. Using only your back, arch yourself towards and away from the floor. Lower the tоp of your head down to the floor as your back goes up, and raise it back and look forward as it goes down. Repeat 5 to 10 times in each direction in 1 to 3 sets, depending on your comfort and athletic level.
Remember to inhale and exhale as you switch from one position to the other, in whichever order is more comfortable for you.
This exercise is primarily done laying down, although advanced athletes with good posture and balance can perform it standing up as well. With your body fully straight from head to toe, bring one knee towards your chest and hold it there with your hands for a few seconds, maintaining upwards pressure. Release, switch legs, and repeat the process.
Depending on your athletic level, hold each leg anywhere from 15 seconds to one minute and either do one first followed by the other, or alternate between legs for your comfort.
Also known as the Balasana in Yoga. Start with your knees on the ground. Stretch your arms in front of you on the ground and start lowering your torso. As you do that, start moving your lower back backward until you sit on your knees. Your torso and head should end up at ground level, and your arms stretched above your head with your palms on the floor. Use your lower back to gently move your body backward until you end up sitting on your heels.
To stretch your back, it’s important to retain the tension from your arms to your heels by pushing back to your heels. Maintain this position for 15 seconds to a minute, depending on your comfort and athletic level.
Start by laying down on your stomach and extending your arms forward above your head, with your palms facing down. Slowly lift your arms and legs above the ground for about one foot or however high you can manage without issues.Throughout the exercise, keep the abdominal muscles tight. Do not bend your back or neck any more than your arms and legs naturally do. Hold the position for a second then slowly return back down.
Repeat 5-15 times in 1-3 sets depending on your comfort and athletic level.
Start by laying down on your back. Bend your legs so that your knees point towards the ceiling. Keeping your full foot down, raise your hips until they line up with your shoulders and knees.
Repeat 5-15 times in 1-3 sets depending on your comfort and athletic level.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Start with one knee on the floor and the other leg extended outwards and standing on the full foot. In the correct position, both of your legs will be forming a 90-degree angle. Slowly extend your hips forward towards your extended leg, arching your lower back. For a more advanced exercise, raise your arms above your head and slowly bend backward with your head looking up.
Maintain the position for 15 seconds to a minute depending on your comfort and athletic level. Repeat the process for both legs.
Start by laying down on your stomach. Your feet should be at about hip-width with your toes flexed and facing the ground. Extend your arms outwards with your elbows at about shoulder height. Looking forward, raise yourself upwards using only your back by balancing at the elbows, maintaining your lower body on the ground.
Once you reach your maximum, hold position anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute depending on your comfort and athletic level.
How Do You Loosen Tight Muscles In Your Lower Back?
The best way to loosen tight muscles in your lower back is stretching. As discussed, there are various stretches for your lower back you can do by yourself at home without equipment. Other than stretching, regular exercise and general physical activity can help. For more serious lower back issues, heat or massage therapy can go a long way.
What Is The One Stretch That Relieves Back Pain?
Arguably the best stretch for relieving back pain is the Cat-Cow position. This exercise is very beginner friendly, doesn’t require equipment to perform, and is easy to control your maximum to avoid hurting yourself. The Sphinx stretch and Child’s Pose (Balasana) Yoga exercises are also good, though slightly more difficult to perform.
Is It OK To Squat With Lower Back Pain?
Squatting with lower back pain is not recommended if the source of pain is an injury. The exercise could feel difficult to do and could make your condition worse if you’re not careful. However, if the source of pain is injury-related, a modified squat exercise using a Safety Squat Bar can be beneficial, but it’s important to listen to your body signs and consult a doctor before attempting it.
Using these tips and exercises you will see improvement in your back in no time. Lumbar spine mobility isn’t just important for athletes, it’s crucial for better everyday life, especially as you age.
Do you perform lower back mobility exercises as part of your workout routine?
What’s your favorite exercise of the ones I’ve listed?
- Trends in Sedentary Behavior Among the US Population, 2001-2016 // JAMA Network: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2731178
- Lumbar Spine // Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22396-lumbar-spine#
- Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years // CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6927a5.htm
- Posture and positioning // SAUK: https://sauk.org.uk/coping-with-scoliosis/posture-and-positioning/
- The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain // National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339077/
Zinaida was in the national team of Ukraine in rhythmic gymnastics - she has 15 years of professional sport experience. Zinaida is certified in the field of functional training, rehabilitation, kinesiotherapy and specialize in work with athletes: recovery, rehab, functional, mobility, GPP, training. Education for athletes and coaches and specific program design to avoid traumatization.