When training, you should aim for both flexibility and strength for a happy lower back. Since we are often seated at work, we need to focus on exercises that promote neutral posture when we hit the gym. We should avoid strengthening muscle groups that accentuate those muscles that are kept in a shortened position while seated at work. Put simply, we should focus on lengthening out muscle groups at the front of the body via stretching and mobility.
After that, we should concentrate on strength work for the entire back. By striking this balance, it becomes easier for us to assume neutral alignment and to reduce the likelihood of pain occurring while at our desks. Needless to say, your ergonomic set up at your workstation needs to be appropriate. But that is a post for another day.
Take a look at this short video below which shows you how to stretch your iliopsoas muscle (main hip flexor, which pulls on your lower back, and your quadratus lumborum in the lumbar region. Then there’s a short strengthening exercise for your gluteus medius in the buttocks and for the hamstrings. By improving flexibility and strength in these targeted areas, you reduce the tendency for an anterior pelvic tilt and make the goal of neutral alignment of the spine much more achievable.
As always, please consult your medical practitioner for advice before undertaking any of these exercises as this flexibility and strength video does not constitute medical advice.
- Place right foot forward ahead of right knee
- Keep spine upright
- Place left knee behind left hip
- Gently lean forward so that you feel stretch in left lower abdomen
- Hold for ten seconds, then increase stretch, holding for a total of up to 30 seconds. Repeat opposite side.
- Continuing from previous position, Look towards your left, then bring your hands around to your knee or ankle.
- This opens your right lower back, hold for 20 seconds. Repeat opposite side.