I wrote this post because I have worked with a lot of athletes that have had back pain and who have felt like they just had to accept it, well you don’t and you shouldn’t have too. I have shown them that they can compete without pain. This is a sample of a session that I do with these athletes and I hope it can help you and your athletes eliminate back pain.
Foam roll with hockey ball or foam roller(10 rolls each):
- T-spine (upper back),
- Glute medius
Emphasis is placed on releasing the tension of musculature which causes pain or tightness at the site of the lumbar (lower back). The key areas that need work being the t-spine and the hip flexors. A lack of T-Spine mobility, more specifically T-spine extension, can cause the athlete to extend through the lower back which can be a cause of the pain.
Soft tissue work is also carried out on the hip flexors, external rotators and hip abductors which when tight can cause pain at the lumbar region, hip region and knee region.
- Banded monster walks-4*10m and back
- Cook Single leg-4*8 each leg, rest 1 minute
- Quadruped Draw ins- 5*5 second holds, take a few breaths between each hold
- Isometric supinated bridge-4*30 seconds, rest 1 minute
- Plank-4*30 seconds, rest 1 minute
As you will notice the glutes are worked through an active range, as well as isometrically, in the supinated position. A lack of glute activation (strength), or gluteal amnesia as Dr Stuart McGill would say, has been shown to lead to multiple issues such as hamstring strains, lower back pain, hip pain and knee pain.
Therefore there is a large emphasis on firing the glute muscles during active range of motion while also using the glutes to stabilise the hip structure.
Draw ins have been used to help the athlete or client feel, use and activate the deep abdominal musculature that is required to stabilise the hip and shift it into a neutral or “happy” and “friendly” place. It is also a great teaching tool in showing the athlete what the correct alignment of the spine feels like.
Plank or pronated bridge position is used to strengthen the musculature in a functional way through using the trunk as an anti-rotatory and anti-flexion exercise.
The new concept of the core is simple: Core is ant-rotation and core is the prevention of motion-Michael Boyle. Think core stability and hip stability and then mobility.
- Eliminate lower body rotational exercises and stretches that encourage motion or rotation through the spine. Don’t actively look to increase lumbar range of motion. These include exercises such as the seated and lying rotational stretches and the wind shield wipers.
- The function of the anterior core is absolutely not flexion. So stop doing sit ups if you are or ever want to be an athlete/person without back pain.
- Don’t try to increase core stability while increasing core range of motion
- Cut out Barbell back squats for the moment and replace them with Goblet squats or even single leg variants of the squat-Hip extension and hip stabilisation.
- Stop Bench Pressing, seated shoulder pressing or standing presses for the mean time and replace them with exercises which encourage scapula retraction- Pull ups, bat wings, bench pronated barbell rows etc.
This session should take you just one more step further into the direction to fighting back pain and living a happy back pain free life.