Increasing lower back flexibility?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Zombie Bokken, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. Zombie Bokken

    Zombie Bokken Valued Member

    Right then,

    My lower back is very stiff, not painful but doesnt appear to bend much. I can touch my toes etc but when viewed from the side the lower third of my back doesnt appear to bend much at all.

    I think this lack of flexibility is impacting on my ability to roll effectively out of locks etc as I struggle to get my shoulder to the floor quickly enough (could also be a fear of the floor).

    Are there any exercises, stretches which can focus on increasing the flexibility in this region of my back? I am currently trying slow backward rolls but stopping as my toes reach the ground and holding this for a while to see if this helps but not sure if it is very effective. Any pointers are greatly appreciated, thanks.
  2. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

    Back bridges and divebomber push ups. Flexibility AND strength!
  3. Zombie Bokken

    Zombie Bokken Valued Member

    Cheers for those - I will give them a try but the back bridges look a bit scary to attempt first of ;)
  4. Zombie Bokken

    Zombie Bokken Valued Member

    Right this is a bit of a noob question but with back bridges what is the best technique. I sit a matter of just hold it for as long as possible until over time it becomes more comfortable and then increase the arch?
  5. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

    Yep, that's the most common way. Another thing I've seen is the bridge press up - you get down like this
    and press up to straighten the arms again.

    Or you can try this
    It's harder than it seems. :D
  6. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    Firstly stretch your wrists. Some kind of palm down hold. Or place your palms against a wall - arm straight -at shoulder height. Turn away slowly. You should feel a stretch throughout your hands, wrists, forearms, biceps and shoulders.

    When bridging concentrate more on quality and your structural integrity.

    So as you're about to hit a high bridge squeeze your **** muscles really hard. This tells the muscles of your spine to 'fire' (support your spine). Then press upwards smoothly.

    Start by holding somewhere near max position for 10 seconds. And lower yourself slowly and smoothly tucking you head back in.

    Good Luck
  7. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I'd say bridges are mostly thoracic and shoulder mobility. Some lumbar.

    But you don't want to do too much stretching of the low back. It tends to weaken the ligaments of the spine and, in striking arts, reduces your potential to transmit power through your arms and legs.

    Toe touches are a sign of overall posterior chain flexibility but they are a good indicator of calf, hamstring and glute ROM. A true toe touch will have your chest touching your legs with minimal upper back rounding. If your shoulders are rounded then you are trying to compensate for less that optimal posterior chain flexibility by reaching forwards with your arms. My advice would be to focus on your calves, hams and glutes and your back problem will likely resolve itself.
  8. Zombie Bokken

    Zombie Bokken Valued Member

    Cheers Van - that sounds like my problem exactly. When I touch toes my back reaches a right angle with my legs and then my shoulders start to round off etc. So I am guessing its the calves etc that I need to start working on?

    Are there specific stretches that really focus on these?

  9. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    lower back flexibility is usually never the issue, hamstring, glute and calf is.
    hamstring stretching and romanian deadlifts
  10. Zombie Bokken

    Zombie Bokken Valued Member

    Cheers for the suggestion. forgot to say that I do not have a bar only weights I possess other than my considerable mass area small set if dumb bells.
  11. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    What Zaad said. Resistance training is infinitely superior to traditional relaxed stretching and incorporates dynamic strength exercises (like deadlifts) and isometric stretching. There are example exercises in the Beginner's Guide to Flexibility (you can turn pretty much any relaxed stretch into an isometric one by tensing the stretched muscles) and over in the weight lifting sub-forum.

    You may want to address other "problem" areas if your shoulders are rounding excessively, e.g. weak upper back and tight chest.
  12. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Invest in a gym membership.
  13. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

    Van Zandt, a bit OT maybe, but it's a quick question... how the hell is it that in common hamstring/calf stretches e.g. seated toe touch, it's the tibialis that feels stretched? Can I do something for it? :confused:
  14. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Anterior or posterior?
  15. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

  16. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Are you pulling your toes back or pointing them forwards during toe touches (assuming you're seated)?
  17. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

    Happens with both.
  18. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Do you run a lot? Your shins could be that tight you're feeling the stretch just by pointing your toes. Happens to more people than you think. Your shin could be cramping up when you pull the toes back.

    Either way, you might want to add foam rolling of this problem area to your regular flexibility routine.
  19. Wildlings

    Wildlings Baguette Jouster

    Thanks for the advice! :hat:
  20. seiken steve

    seiken steve golden member

    Golf ball gets in there good windy, I tend to jam a golf ball in the front of the shin pre-squat and post run,

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