Back pain is one of the most common injuries lifters have throughout their training career. Most don’t address it, and in fact, just try to push through it further worsening the nagging pain. What we should be doing is addressing it before it even happens, so that we can maximize our gym sessions pain free.
From a nutrition standpoint, what we put into our bodies can affect the levels of inflammation. Over time, the body stiffens up from all this inflammation which leaves you vulnerable to injury. Try avoiding gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, processed sugar, and processed vegetables oils. To make it easier just remove one thing, a week at a time and notice any changes.
Lost Mind Muscle Connection Of the Abs, Hamstrings and Glutes
Even if we lift for one hour every day, chances are we are sitting for the remainder of it. This keeps the hips in a flexed position causing the hip flexors to fire too much and the glutes to not fire at all. Add being hunched over, and our abs aren’t contracting, giving us a strong, stable core.
The glutes seem to always be forgotten (mostly among males). If you aren’t firing the hips properly, other (more stable oriented) muscles of the body have to take on the extra load that didn’t go to the glutes. This leaves overloaded stress on vulnerable areas like the lower spine. Opening up the hips, and being able to fire the glutes allows you to achieve proper depth while keeping the low back tight and stable (which is what it’s supposed to be doing). A 90/90 stretch, or hip crossover stretch is great for opening this up.
Make sure you are doing exercises that teach you to activate the core and not the hip flexors. Be sure to check out Mind Pump’s free videos on YouTube for specifics!
Focus On Mobility Work!
Mobility will allow you to increase your lifting career shelf life, and keep your body in tip top shape. It will also hugely decrease your chance for injury. I know it just sounds like added work, but would you rather lose two weeks off at the gym because of an annoying low back pain, or add a couple sets everyday using priming movements to get the right muscles firing?
Include a little mobility work every day, to every other day for 5-10 minutes. You can do it before your workout, or when you are at home watching TV. If you are super lazy like me, and always tend to go right into the workout, I like to do it in between my sets for that workout.
Prime Before Your Workouts
Do 1-2 exercises for each area you lack range. Aim for 3 sets, 10-12 reps each (or 30 seconds each side). The purpose of a primer session before your workout is to properly activate and fire the muscles being used for that day's workout. This will reinforce proper patterns when you get into the lift. For example, if you are getting ready to squat, but aren’t engaging your hips, you might do a 90/90 drill beforehand. Then, when you get into the squat you should feel the hips firing a little better and with a little more range than normal.
Lower Body - Hips - 90/90 drill: allows you to constantly cue your hips and engage your core while working on the limits of your range of motion
Upper Body - Thoracic - Lizard with Rotation: activates glutes, hamstrings, and the lower body while also waking up the thoracic spine which is extremely tight on most of us allowing it to relearn its proper full range.
Upper Body - Shoulder girdle - Shoulder Dislocates: increases blood flow to the shoulder joint allowing better movement from front to back.
These are just examples, but give them a try and see if over time, they help open up your hips, and eventually alleviate some of that chronic back pain you’ve been dealing with! Also, check out our MAPS Prime and Prime Pro programs if you want a more in depth guide on how to properly include these to your regimen.