5 minutes for a pain free lower back
Here are 6 super simple exercises that can help relieve muscle pain in the lower back. In less than 5 minutes, I get significantly better in the lower back when doing these movements. The exercises alternate between tension and stretching the muscles. It’s no secret that surfing provides a great strain on the lower back, especially lower back and that many surfers, myself included, are struggling with muscle tension and lower back pain.
No wonder. We stay in the same position for hours paddling, and if you never counteract this tension it may quickly lead to pain, which in turn can lead to incorrect posture which in turn can lead to unnecessary strain and even more pain elsewhere! No bueno .. In addition, it becomes almost impossible to make a “pop up” (the movement a surfer does when he goes from lying to standing on the board. Performed at the moment one takes a wave).
Therefore I have developed a mini program that I use once I feel my back is extra stiff and sore in the morning. It’s so quick and easy to do and actually helps immediately. In addition to this program there are of course the good old remedies like “wearing wool” etc. Wool is an ingenious trick. I often sleep in a wool suit I have from my ballet days. Yea, you can call me grandma ..! But it works! Anyway, try the exercises below next time your lumbar complaints. Some of them are classic yoga exercises. Works every time 😀
WARM UP: “MOCKING POP UP”
This exercise is very similar to the motion a surfer does when he is about to catch a wave. I like to sneak in some functional exercises aimed at the sport I do when I can;) You simply start in the plank. From there, do a frog jump up and forward with feet together. The arms will not move. Do not stop. Jump right back and start over. Repeat 10 times. See film below for demo:
“LOCUST” TO “CHILDS POSE”
Locust is an exercise you do lying on your stomach, with your palms in the mat next to the chest, and elbows pointing backwards. Chest raise slightly off the ground. Look up and forward. The exercise begins just as a surfer does, lying on the board in the small micro second before deciding to “pop up”.
With this exercise I want to wake up the muscles in the lower back. What we should do is lift one leg at a time stretching it up as high as we manage and then lower back down. Do this 15 times on each leg. Do not put the leg down on the ground until the final repetition. As you feel stronger, you can lift both legs simultaneously as shown in the lower image.
After you’ve done the last exercise, go straight to childs pose. You simply push up from the mat with your arms, bend your knees and sit as far back on your heels as possible. You may want to open the knees slightly to accommodate the whole chest between the legs, if you are extra flexible that is. Let your arms stretch as far in front of you as possible. Relax, breathe deeply and try feeling your back muscles let go. Stay here as long as you want.
“LYING LEG RAISES” TO “KNEES TO CHEST”
Next exercise is about firing up the lower part of the stomach muscles, muscles that are super important in conjunction with a healthy back. Lie on your back and lift your legs straight up in the air. The important thing here is that you constantly ensures that you have the spine pressed into the mat.
What we do here is to lower our legs slowly down towards the ground while keeping them together. When you feel the spine slipping from the mat, it is time to reverse the movement and return to the starting point. Repeat this 10 times.
After this exercise the perfect transition is to pull your knees towards your chest to get a little stretch in muscles again. Just breathe and feel your muscles let go slightly. If your back is like mine, then this is where the sound effects come into play, and you can hear both “tjaajjjjjjng” and “trrrraakk”!
“TIC-TAC” LEGS TO “CORSETT-TWIST”
I have just made up these names, I dont know what they are called, but the most important is that you find a name that makes you remember the exercise.
Basically you start off the same way as you do the leg raises; on your back, but with your arms straight out to the side for some extra support. The difference is that the legs will go from side to side, not straight down. This exercise activates the “corset” muscles that goes like a belt around the abdomen and attach at the back.
Okay, so the legs straight up and together, but then try lowering them down slightly to the left and then over and to the right, like a pendulum going back and forth. Stop in the angle where you are still able to hold your legs to the side for half a second before returning to the starting point. Its pretty heavy, try it out and you will see 😉
If it is too heavy with both legs together so you can use one leg at a time. You pull right leg down to right and back again. Then left leg goes down to the left side and then back again. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
After this strengthening exercise we transition to a stretching exercise. This one should be familiar for many. I call it the “corset-twist”. Lie on your back with one leg on the ground and one bent foot next to opposite knee.
If you start with the left knee bent, then add the right hand on your left knee. Left hand is straight out from shoulder. Look to the left while gently pushing the left knee down towards the right. Breathe all the way down. Make sure both shoulder blades are on the ground at all times. If in this case the left shoulder begins to lift off the ground you know you have pushed far enough.
Try to take a deep breath here and see if the muscles slightly let go of any tightness. I can even hear when my muscles release their tension here. “Trrrraak”. Oh yes! Hope it works for you too. I got better in no time. Talk to you soon!