These exercises are designed for people with lower back pain so consult your practitioner regarding any concerns or modifications that are applicable before you start. Technique is crucial during these exercises so your practitioner will continue to check your technique during each session. These exercises are designed to increase the endurance of the muscles of your lower back so that they are able to cope with the day to day stresses of life! By reducing the stresses put upon all structures in the back (joints ligaments discs etc.) we can reduce the chance of back pain recurrence.
- Squat position with hands out to the sides behind you palms down, bend knees but do not allow knees to go over the toes, keep them as far back as possible without losing your balance. Push your bottom out backwards as you sink down until you feel your hamstrings begin to stretch on both sides. Hold 10 seconds.
- Transfer hands straight out in front of you again palms down. Due to the counter balance of the arms out in front of yourself this now means you can sit back and down more with your bottom. Once you feel you have pushed your bottom back and down as far as you can try to straighten your legs a little so that the stretch in the hamstrings increases. Hold 10 seconds again.
- Now allow your back to arch as you bend forward, allow your arms to be out in front of your body as far as possible still to counter balance your bottom that is still pushing backwards. You should still feel the stretch in the hamstrings while you are holding this position. Hold this for 10 seconds and then return to a standing position by keeping your back straight as you work your way up your shins with your hands whilst on your way to standing.
- Starting position is stood up with your bottom pushed out backwards slightly and knees slightly bent but again not letting the knees to go forwards at all, keeping your back straight so that you are prepared to go into the squat position. Your arms are crossed across your chest towards the opposite shoulder.
- Squat down into the founder position till you feel your hamstrings stretch, your arms go from across your chest to being straight out in front of you as in Number 1 above and then return straight back up to the standing position.
- Repeat this 10 times holding the hamstring stretch for 5 seconds on the 9th and 10th holds respectively.
- Adopt a lunge position with your right leg forward and your front leg slightly bent with your feet straight in line pointing forwards. Raise your arms above your head and lean back. Push your hips forwards whilst leaning back so that a stretch is felt on the front of the pelvis at the left groin region. Hold 10 seconds.
- In this position, Lean across to the right (away from the back leg), hold stretch for a further 10 seconds.
- In this position, bring your left shoulder back so that the stretch increases again, hold for further 10 seconds.
- Return to normal lunge position.
- Still in the lunge position with your right leg forward and front leg slightly bent cross your arms across your chest. Whilst keeping your knees and ankles completely still bend forwards from the hips only (similar to a plank of wood falling forwards) keeping your back nice and straight till you feel a stretch in the hamstring on the back of the front leg. Hold 10 seconds.
- Now put your arms out straight in front of yourself and raise them up to increase the stretch of the hamstring. Hold 10 seconds.
- Now rotate so that your arms point to the right (away from back leg). Hold 10 seconds.
- Return arms back in front of self, hands up and then stand up.
- Repeat Lunge routine parts 1 and 2, this time with the left leg forwards.
- Adopt the ‘Founder’ position that we covered at the start of number 1, with your arms out to the back and sides behind you with palms face down. Squat down so that you feel the hamstring stretch for 10 seconds.
- Now bend forwards allowing the back to arch, push the arms out in front of you as a counter balance and maintain the hamstring stretch in the legs. From this position, rotate to the right and reach up to the sky whilst in the bent over position. Make sure that the opposite hand stays out in front of you so that you can continue to counter balance your bottom that is still pushing out behind you. You should feel a stretch in the left hamstring at this time. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Return to arched over position, briefly contract the lower back so that you are less arched for 2 seconds. Then return to fully arched position (continue to maintain hamstring stretch the whole time)
- Now reach up with the left hand towards the sky so that stretch is felt in right hamstring. Hold 5 seconds.
- Return to normal arched position, slide hands up shins and keep back straight as you return to a standing position.
Repeat this routine 3 times, each time increasing the width of the legs so that the second cycle is twice as wide as shoulder width and by the third cycle your legs are almost 3 times wider than shoulder width. The distance between the legs during the lunge routine does not differ each time. The whole routine should take about 20 minutes to complete.
Try to perform the whole routine every day for 2 weeks, then once every few days for a couple of weeks eventually reducing down to once a week so that you can add it in to your weekly exercise regime. This is so that your lower back maintains good stability in the future.
- If at any time you feel abnormal discomfort not associated to the hamstrings stretching or your lower back working then discontinue the exercise and inform your practitioner.
- Your hamstrings may feel sore in the following hours/days after performing this routine. This is completely normal and is not uncommon as you are essentially stretching (a very mild form of tearing) muscle fibres that have not been stretched for some time. Use 2 Ice packs under each hamstring in a seated position for 10-15 minutes every 2 hours to help calm the soreness. Try to perform the routine again once the discomfort has subsided enough so that you are happy to continue.
- You may also feel a mild ache in your lower back muscles, this is also completely normal. The ache is a sign that the muscles been working, Ice and anti-inflammatory gels (Ibuprofen etc.) are great ways to relieve this if you are concerned. With time the aching should lessen and eventually stop as the endurance of the muscles in your back increases. BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER go to the comfortable limit, if pain worsens you must stop.
All of the exercises detailed here are for specific problems or injuries. It is always recommended to consult your practitioner before attempting any exercises.