Lower back tightness? 5 Minute workout to start your day
As a trainer one of the most common issues I hear is waking up with a tight lower back. After sleeping throughout the night with not much movement, its’ common for many people to experience some level of low back tightness. The severity is dependent on many factors, including the quality of your mattress, stress, exercise habits, bodyweight, food choices and age. Some people are able to loosen up their back by just going through normal morning routines, but for many the tightness persists if no attention is given towards fixing the problem.
A misconception about low back tightness is limiting any movement in that area of the body when first waking up. Rather than avoiding movement, proper stretching and muscle activation is key to loosening up the lower back. If you wake up and avoid the problem then other issues can start the rear their ugly head because of compensation. In other words, if the body is not moving properly (due to the tightness in the back) then pain can start to arise in areas such as the hips, knees or ankles. Before those pains become a problem try out this 5-minute workout (5 exercises) upon rising in the morning.
Cat-Cow Stretch- Start on your hands and knees, with hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips. Next, inhale and lower your bellybutton towards the ground while lifting your head and chest towards the ceiling and pulling shoulder blades away from the shoulders (cow phase). The exhale portion will involve drawing your bellybutton towards the spine and rounding the middle of the back as much as possible (cat phase). That is considered 1 repetition. Complete 10 total repetitions.
Thoracic Rotations- Lying on your left side, bend your knees and hips at 90 degrees and make sure the right leg is directly on top of your left leg. Both arms should be straight out in front of you with the right arm on top of the left arm. Keeping your left knee on the ground, rotate your right arm to the floor behind you. Bring that arm back to the starting position (that is 1 repetition). Complete 8 repetitions then repeat on the other side of the body.
Glute Bridge- Start by lying on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet shoulder width. Keeping the weight through your heels lift your hips off the ground and focus on rotating the bottom of your pelvis back towards your head. At the top position squeeze your glute muscles and hold for 2 seconds. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground (that is 2 repetitions). Complete a total of 10 repetitions.
Plank- Start on your forearms, knees and toes. Make sure your elbows are underneath the shoulders and the forearms are parallel to the body (shoulder width). Lift your hips off the ground and contract your abdominals, glutes, and thighs. The body should be straight (no sagging of the hips, or hips elevated above parallel to the floor). Hold this position 30 seconds.
Bodyweight Squats- Start standing with your feet shoulder width and toes turned out slightly. Inhale and tighten up your abdominal muscles, then sit your hips down and back keeping the weight through your heels. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. As you stand up push your knees out, drive through your heels and exhale (that is 1 repetition). Complete a total of 12 repetitions.