Low back pain is a very common problem with us as humans. There’s a slew of reasons, but most commonly it's due to our bad posture and the fact we sit at desks all day. We are constantly in a “hunched” over position either reading the latest email at work or looking at the latest celebrity Instagram post. Whatever you’re doing, you are likely spending most of your days looking like a sideways horseshoe. This then translates into walking like a sideways horseshoe and sleeping like a sideways horseshoe. Then over time as you workout you complain about how “weak” the lower back is or even better, that you can’t do anything that will hurt the low back. If you've had bad posture for a long time, you may even of had a herniated disc. Let me tell you something, your low back is not weak, its tight, and you can still workout your low back. Its a muscle (erector spinae) and it needs to be worked. It needs to be worked the correct way with the correct progression and the correct form. I am going to show you three movements that might help your low back pain and most of them are hip exercises. I’ll tell you why if you keep reading.
I would love to say I’m getting paid to promote Mark Bell’s Hip Circle, but I am not. However, I will give him credit for making such a great product that I will promote it. With 100% of the profits going to him, 0% going to me, in exchange for 100% of your back pain to go away. We hope but can obviously never guarantee such things. Here’s the link to the Hip Circle so go give him your money. https://markbellslingshot.com/collections/hip-circles. The sizing is on the website. The lateral step with the hip circle is a great way to warm up the hips or to be more specific, the gluteus medius. The part of the gluteus muscle that keeps us in alignment on virtually every lower body movement, including walking. Without it, your knees would collapse inward like a baby giraffe. When you squat if you have trouble keeping your knees out as you descend, you have a weak gluteus medius. Also if when you run, your knees collapse inward usually referred to as “knock knees.” Why am I talking about the gluteus medius in a blog about low back pain? Because the glutes are directly below the low back (erectors) and when you have weak glutes, your low back muscles take the strain. See how maybe your low back pain isn’t because its weak? It could be due to the fact it has no help! Start by doing 3 sets of 10 each side lateral side steps with the Hip Circle. Notice in the video at the bottom of this blog how small my steps are. Also notice that my shoulders stay square and not tilting in the result of too much momentum. Keep your toes pointing forward and squat down into a quarter squat as you do them. Do not let the knees touch at any point in this movement. Please and thank you. If you refuse to pay for the Hip Circle, you can do the same movement without the band just double the reps and do larger steps. Just make sure to stay in a low squat position. Don’t resort to the cheaper, smaller rubber bands. They break and will cost you more in the long run.
These can be done with the Hip Circle or without it. Just a note that I am listing these moves in the order you should do them. So please don’t skip ahead. Please and thank you. The main point here is to push your hips as high as you can and when you get there, squeeze this butt cheeks! I would say Gluteus Maximus but I’m not that guy to use all the proper terms in order to sound like Im a smarty pants. Butt cheeks, squeeze the hell out of them. In the video below (I want it to be Summer again!) notice my feet placement and how they stay flat on the ground. Also take note that my knees stay in alignment and this is very important when using the Hip Circle. The band teaches you this automatically and makes sure those glutes are firing! Sorry I mean the butt cheeks. Start with 3 sets of 20 reps.
RDL OR Russian Deadlift or Stiff Leg Deadlift or Straight Leg Deadlift or Hip Hinge
This is one of those moves, like the squat, that people misunderstand as being “bad” for your back. This move, form wise, is one of the hardest exercises to get down. This is due to the fact you are so accustomed to that “hunched” over position you can’t break the habit when exercising. In the video below, notice how flat my back is. You could set three wine glasses on that bad boy! This is because I’m bending from the hips not the back or shoulders. I have the feeling of pushing my butt back rather than bending from the back. Something to practice is standing about 6”-12” from a wall. Focus on this movement and getting your butt to touch the wall. If your torso gets to 90 degrees and that butt is not up against the wall, you tilted from the back not hips. Also note that your knees should be slightly bent or “relaxed.” I see women do this with their knees locked out. Thats a one way ticket to back pain! Like I said previously, this move is very hard form wise so don’t get too frustrated. Look in a mirror, do the wall trick, and keep practicing. Start with 3 sets of 10 reps with light weight. Dumbbells are the best to start with. Then you can move to a kettlebell then barbell.
I’m not guaranteeing this will help your back pain but I have seen it help numerous clients. Obviously be smart if you’ve had any surgeries to the back before beginning any exercise. Always check with a doctor and get clearance before participating in exercise. If your back pain is from the reasons I mentioned in the beginning, these moves can help prevent injuries in the future. There’s a lot I can say about how strong hamstrings, glutes and hips can help low back pain but just know, they all need to be mobile and strong! Watch the video below, take notes on the form, and keep it moving! This is a process and you my friend are so worth it!