So… I am about to turn 31. Last year, when I turned 30, things started happening to my body that I really started noticing. I mean, who knew that 30 was the year of finding random hair on your face?
That said, a lot of times as we get older (and believe me, I know 30 isn’t old, but just follow the bouncing ball here) there are places in our body that tend to get the brunt of age and parenthood.
ENTER, THE LOWER BACK.
The lower back is notorious for getting sore quicker as we age, but sometimes not really having anything to do with age, sometimes we sleep funny…
Because, let’s face it, when your toddler is going through the 18 month sleep regression, then the 2 year sleep regression, and your 5 year old wakes you up in the night because his sock fell off, we tend to fall asleep in the most precarious of positions because we’re just that tired.
SO WHAT GIVES? OUR LOWER BACK IS TIGHT AND WE NEED SOME RELIEF.
It’s hard to really get that lower back so what I’m going to do is show you a few stretches that target the lower back and then I’m going to show you my crown jewel of easing back soreness – foam rolling.
Let’s dive in.
LOWER BACK STRETCHES # 1- CROSS LEGGED SUPINE STRETCH (GLUTE STRETCH)
Lying flat on your back, lift one leg off of the floor and grab behind the knee, while crossing the opposite leg over the top like you’re sitting in a chair.
Reach through the window and pull towards your chest and relax into it.
If your back is really sore, you will probably feel this in your butt first. For me? I always feel it in my butt first, but after a few rounds, it goes into my lower back.
I like to have clients and myself hold stretches for 20-30+ seconds for 2-3 or even four rounds.
Next up –
LOWER BACK STRETCHES #2 – SUPINE HAMSTRING STRETCH
While lying flat on your back, lift one leg straight above your head holding behind your knee until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg.
Remember to keep your leg nice and straight and your toes flexed (pulling your toes towards your shins) to ensure a good stretch and not overcompensating.
Hold for 20-30+ seconds then swap legs. Repeat for both legs 2-3 times.
We’re stretching out those hamstrings because your lower back works with your glutes and hamstrings and sometimes when your glutes and hamstrings are tight, it can make your lower back sore.
LOWER BACK STRETCHES #3 – CAT/COW
Get on all fours into a tabletop position with your back nice and flat. Then you’re going to arch your back up towards the ceiling like a cat would when they’re stretching from laying on the floor while taking a nap.
Hold for about 8-10 seconds, then slowly let your back ‘fall’ past flat/neutral and into a curved position while raising your head nice and tall and looking up.
SEE BELOW PICTURES FOR REFERENCE.
Also holding for 8-10 seconds and repeating these motions nice and slowly.
Those are my three favorite stretches for lower backs. Once I’ve done those stretches when my back is sore, I will grab my foam roller and start rolling out the soreness in my back.
LOWER BACK ROLLING:
While laying on your back, place the foam roller at your lower traps. Keep your core nice and tight lift your bum off the ground and use your legs to push your self back and forth so that the foam roller is rolling up and down your back.
Take a look at the below picture, this is me, mid-roll. The foam roller rolls from the top of my butt, to the bottom of my shoulders. I am in complete control the entire time that I am rolling.
NEXT, TIME TO ROLL OUT THE HAMS AND THE GLUTES
Remember what I said about glutes and hamstrings working together with the muscles of the lower back? When they get tight, it can make the back sore.
While sitting on the foam roller, right at the crease underneath your butt, roll down to the top of the back of your knee then back to this starting position.
I like to sit to one side using my arm as balance as pictured below for a more targeted roll.
If you want a deeper roll in the glutes, you can take your foot and cross it over your knee like you’re sitting in a chair and you will feel that roll deeper!
STRETCHING IS OFTEN AN UNDERUSED AND UNDERAPPRECIATED METHOD TO HELP EASE MUSCLE SORENESS AND EVEN TO HELP WORK THROUGH STRESS.
Our bodies are wicked smart, and they communicate to us by sending our brains signals such as pain, happiness, hunger, etc. When we are hurting, that means that something is possibly wrong.
REMEMBER, IF YOU’RE HAVING TRUE BACK PAIN, DON’T HESITATE TO SEE YOUR DOC!
Muscle soreness is something that I work through often as I am always working toward different fitness goals.
Mine isn’t weight loss anymore, but I will sometimes be training for a race, or I will be working on lifting heavier weight, or I’ll even be experimenting with programming to be able to give my clients and readers the best information that I can.
Remember, mama, that when picking up your kiddos you need to have solid form to do so because that can be a big contributor to back soreness as well.
Example: when your little wants to be picked up, don’t simply bend over then use every muscle in your back to lift them.
Squat down a little bit, keeping that back straight and core braced, and put your hands under their armpits and using your legs, push the floor away with your feet and stand.
Ta-da! Much better.
Your kiddo is now being held and you’ve protected your back from being in an awkward position.
I know that we get in a hurry sometimes and that we’ll forget to slow down and lift them properly, but making it a habit to lift them properly is going to be vital to making sure that you don’t hurt your back!