The body thrives on balance. Our muscles and joints are happiest when they are getting equal and total range of motion. The spine is no different. Since its range of motion is smaller than most other joints, imbalances can be felt more intensely.
The spine requires the stability of the supporting muscles that surround it to keep up upright and mobile. When a link in this system is weak, the body will compensate in order to expend the least amount of energy.
A common issue that causes the dreaded lower back is due to tight hip flexors, tight spinal erectors, accompanied by weak abs and glutes, which is also referred to as the lower cross syndrome.
The tightness of the body in one area causes another area of the body to become weak.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Buddhist Proverb
So how do you fix or prevent this?
Here are three things you can do today to make sure your glutes are firing, your core is tight, and your hips and back muscles stay strong but supple.
1. Single leg glute bridges, to strengthen the core & glutes. Aim for three sets of 15 on each side. Plant the bottom of your feet and palms firmly on the floor. Stack knees above ankles. Lift one foot off the ground and perform a single glute bridge with the other, pressing firmly into your palms, shoulders, and foot to take any pressure off the neck. Try to get the hips as high as possible, then lower to the ground.
2. Couch stretch, which loosens the tight hip flexors. Aim for two minutes on each side. Using a couch or a bench, get into a low lunge in front of your object of choice. The goal of this stretch is to use the front leg to support your weight as you put your back foot on a couch or bench and get your knee as close to the couch or bench as possible to stretch the hip of the back leg.
3. Supine single-leg twists to loosen the tight muscles in the lower back. Lay on your back, hands out to a T, and legs together. Bring your right knee up to your chest and let it fall to the left side of your body. Try to keep the spine stacked in a straight line. Repeat on the left leg, bringing left knee to chest then letting it fall to your right, knee resting on the ground or a block. Spend at least a minute on each side.
Incorporate these exercises and stretches into your routine to help ease and prevent lower back pain. As always, if anything causes pain, don’t do it and always consult your doctor before trying new things.
Each month, we will profile a Grand Trunk CrossFit member who has seen incredible results since joining our “box”.
It is our hope, that by showing you what can be accomplished through regular workouts and a commitment to fitness, you will be encouraged to take the leap and come in for a workout.
This month’s spotlight is on Dan Rohrhoff, a member since October of 2015.
When did you join Grand Trunk, and why?
I joined Grand Trunk – New Hudson in October of 2015 because I needed someone/something to motivate me to work out. I used to belong to a gym and tried all the at-home programs but I never stuck with anything. I saw CrossFit on a friend’s Facebook feed and thought I’d give it a try.
What do you enjoy most about GTCF and CrossFit?
I enjoy the variety. Every workout is a new challenge. The coaches and the people are great! Working from home can feel isolating, so it’s a nice break from staring at the computer screen.
What is your favorite movement?
My favorite movement is riding the Assault bike. Who doesn’t love a fast sprint on a bike?
What is a CrossFit goal you have achieved that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of climbing the rope. When I first started I couldn’t even pull myself up and I wanted nothing to do with the rope.
What is a current goal you are working on and hope to accomplish?
I am currently working on and improving my overhead squat. I used to dread seeing these movements show up in the WOD, but now I see it as an opportunity to get better.
What advice would you give a new member or someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
I would tell anyone who is new to just stick with it. The movements are hard and awkward at first but just know that everyone has been there before and with time you will improve.
How has CrossFit impacted your life outside of the gym?
CrossFit has given me the confidence and strength to take on any challenge that presents itself.
What is a fun fact that people might not know about you?
I work as a patent examiner so I have to listen to everyone’s great ideas.
If you could create your own WOD, what would it be?
Ten rounds of sled pulls and ten rounds of 10 calories on the Assault bike.
Fill in the blank: I CrossFIt (because/so I can): To stay in shape, have fun, and get out of the house.
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