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Old 04-18-2012, 06:14 AM   #1
Garrett Hines
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exercises for stiff lower back

good morning all, quick question about loosening up the lower back. I am 6 weeks in to crossfit and my low back is so stiff. I make sure on every lift to use prppper form so Im not breaking stuff, but at the same time I know my lower back was very weak going in to this.

I am working through the mobilitywod project but havent gotten to anything specificly addressing the lowerback. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to loosen that up and get a little more flex in that area?

Thanks!
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
Bill M. Hesse
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

I like to grab a dumbell and do a stiff leg romanian deadlift type stretch. I focus on stretching under a little bit of tension but not strain. I find the dumbell helps pull me into the stretch.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
Jason Wallis
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

Stretch your hamstrings. Alot.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:21 PM   #4
Bill M. Hesse
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

Because I was on my phone my post was short. I also intended to say that some of your back issues can stem from being tight anywhere downstream of your lower back. Roll and stretch your calves, hammies, and butt. While you are at it you might as well flip around and get the front too!
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:29 PM   #5
Joe Agliozzo
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

Lots of mobility wods address the low back. Check out all the hips/hip flexors, psoas, hamstring, etc. A lot of low back stiffness stems from tightness in the front of the hip and the psoas, so do the couch stretch, super couch, etc. as well as the banded high hamstring routines.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:46 AM   #6
James Hanley
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

Some points for considerationÖ

1) Your lower back isnít the problem, itís the symptom
2) Itís probably coming from above (t-spine) or below (hip mobility is most likely)
3) Tight hamstrings are again a symptom (again probably related to quad dominance, tight hips and dysfunctioning glutes)

Hereís what Iíd do:
-foam roll the complete sh*t out of your everything
-as other have said, work thru mWod
-pay particular attention to hip flexor stretching and hip mobility drills
-introduce glute activation work
-probably look at t-spine mobility too

It's pretty likely that your hams got ultra tight because they've taken over from your glutes with regards hip extension, and are trying to balance some lateral quad tightness too.

The take home point is, your back is stiff because something else isnít doing what it should, and an educated guess says itís most likely your hips. Donít just focus on linear stretching, work mobility with under/overs, hurdle drills, Cossack squats, side lunges etc etc
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:43 AM   #7
Brian Strump
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

This. You can hammer away at what feels "tight" for temporary relief, but more times than not, the real culprit is not where you think it is.


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Originally Posted by James Hanley View Post
Some points for considerationÖ

1) Your lower back isnít the problem, itís the symptom
2) Itís probably coming from above (t-spine) or below (hip mobility is most likely)
3) Tight hamstrings are again a symptom (again probably related to quad dominance, tight hips and dysfunctioning glutes)

Hereís what Iíd do:
-foam roll the complete sh*t out of your everything
-as other have said, work thru mWod
-pay particular attention to hip flexor stretching and hip mobility drills
-introduce glute activation work
-probably look at t-spine mobility too

It's pretty likely that your hams got ultra tight because they've taken over from your glutes with regards hip extension, and are trying to balance some lateral quad tightness too.

The take home point is, your back is stiff because something else isnít doing what it should, and an educated guess says itís most likely your hips. Donít just focus on linear stretching, work mobility with under/overs, hurdle drills, Cossack squats, side lunges etc etc
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:16 AM   #8
Garrett Hines
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

Thanks everybody for your comments!!! You have been seriously helpful. I will be foam rolling and working on my hips (whom Im pretty sure are the culprit here). I ordered a mobility package from roguefitness so when that comes tomorrow I will be going to work on increasing my mobility. Thanks again everybody!!
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:11 AM   #9
Eric Trent Miller
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

I also struggled with this, so I'll add some comments.

- The foam roller/mobility stuff that everyone has suggested of course. I went through three foam rollers (including the rumble roller) before finding what I consider to be the best of show: the $3 pvc pipe.

- PROACTIVELY recover on rest days. Go for a walk, set goals for drinking water, pick 8 mobility exercises and do one an hour at random (set timer on your phone)

- Don't underestimate the healing power of movement. Google "Starr Protocol". Do tons of high rep lo/no weight of back extensions, RDLs, good mornings, etc. Again, do these whenever...

- ICE 20m several times a day especially right after your workout and on off days. Heat before your workout

- cold baths. You don't have to be crossfit-tarded here, ice is not necessary. Just get in a warm bath and then run the cold water until its cold (letting the warm water out as you go) and sit in it for 20 m. The guys who do ice baths need a lesson in the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

- finally, like others have said, its probably being caused by a weakness of an adjacent system. Hamstrings, hips, core. Try to figure out which it is and work on those.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:31 PM   #10
Steven Low
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Re: exercises for stiff lower back

Mobility work for back.

Assess hip and t-spine, shoulders, and ankle flexibility/mobility (which you likely will need to increase).
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