You’re not alone, low back pain or ache is one of the biggest complaints people ask about.
Did you sleep weird? Maybe. Did you work out too much or too hard? Maybe. Did you squat or deadlift or run with questionable form? Maybe. Is there something structurally wrong? Well, that’s a maybe too.
The real culprit is most likely a weak core and poor mobility. Here’s why: your core is exactly what it sounds like, it’s your core, and as you could imagine, you want a strong core to support your daily life and sport.
Related: 25 ways to give your core a great workout
Before diving deeper into the core and mobility discussion, first things first: Definitely get checked out by your doctor to make sure there is nothing structurally wrong. If you’re all good there, then chances are it’s the tightness and weakness.
If you have a desk job, or you sit a lot, your core muscles get weak, your hips and hamstrings get tight. You might even notice that your low back has a big arch to it. That’s called lordosis, and it’s usually caused by the issues listed above.
So what can you do about low back pain?
Mobilize your hips and spine, give your hip flexors and hamstrings a good stretch regularly, and strengthen your core muscles with a variety of different exercises—that’s the high-level plan.
How do you get that done?
Try doing core-specific exercise at least three days per week. This might mean something like a plank (which is a static stabilizing exercise), a chopping exercise (which is rotational), a basic crunch (which is a flexion exercise), a Superman (which is an extension exercise), and a bird dog or bird dog row (which is sort of a combination). Some experts would say you want to move in all “three planes of motion.”
Related FAQ: What’s the best way to work out my abs?
Basic hip flexor and hamstring stretches like the child’s pose or sit and reach could be done daily. Giving the hip joint some love with 90/90 openers and ankle lifts could be a good daily move too.
Need an example? Try this low-intensity mobility-enhancing workout. You could also try this one.
You should also use a foam roller or lacrosse ball around your hip joints and glutes daily, if you can. Even as little as 5 minutes can make a difference.
This won’t be a cure, but if you haven’t been focusing on any core or mobility work, it would be a surprise if you didn’t start to see some relief.
And remember, consistency is key. A couple days of stretching and crunches isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to get with a regular routine.
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