I get asked on a regular basis about stretches for the lower back.
People seemed confounded when I tell them that this is “probably” a bad idea.
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG-2-7nyNzM[/youtube]
What most folks fail to realize is that there are a TON of nerves running through the lumbar region and that these nerves don’t actually stretch. Instead the slide and glide along the spinal column.
If we attempt to stretch the lower back the question isn’t “if” but “when” one of these nerves slides into a cramped up position and you end up entrapping, pinching, or some other variation of damaging these nerves.
What I propose we do instead is take advantage of a phenomena in the body known as Reciprocal Inhibition. What Reciprocal Inhibition basically means is that when a muscle on 1 side of the body does something the opposing muscle automatically does the opposite.
So for example if you flex (concentrically contract) your bicep; your tricep will automatically lengthen (eccentric contraction).
In the case of the lower back if we can contract the abdominal muscles then the opposing area – your lower back – will automatically lengthen and relax.
My favorite exercise to elicit reciprocal inhibition of the relaxing of the lower back is the Dead Bug and all of its variations.
I love this exercise because it has a high reward and very low risk profile. Check out today’s video to learn how to perform the deadbug, progressions for the exercise, as well as the common mistakes that I see made while performing this exercise.
Til next time,
Move Better. Look Better. Feel Better
Nathan “Nate” Stowe BS, NASM-CPT, NCSF-CPT, CES, PES, FNS
Owner/Lead Trainer/Doctor of Awesome
Stowe Training Systems
Nathan Stowe, BS, is the president and founder of Stowe Training Systems LLC, a personal training company in Austin, TX.
A highly sought after coach for healthy or injured adults alike, Nathan has helped folks at all-levels – from 14-80 years old to even professional athletes – achieve their highest level of performance for their chosen goals. Behind Nathan’s expertise, Stowe Training Systems has rapidly established itself as the go-to destination for those wanting to improve their movement capacity, function, and experience Nathan’s cutting-edge methods. Nathan is probably best known for his work with his “pre-hab” clientele.
Nathan while majoring in Finance at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX managed to take every Health and Fitness related elective available. At Trinity, Nathan participated in several Intramural Sports as well as receiving extensive education in nutrition and resistance training.
Prior to founding Stowe Training Systems Nathan worked as a General Manager, Fitness Manager, Assistant Fitness Manager, and Master Trainer for Total Athlete Sports Complex and 24 Hour Fitness respectively. Although prepared in several bodies of knowledge, Stowe specializes in applied kinesiology and biomechanics as they relate to program design and injury rehabilitation, maximum relative strength development, and increased athleticism – particularly as it relates to those over the age of 45.
Nathan publishes a free blog at StoweTrainingSystems.com.