Not long ago I polled my readers on Facebook about what kind of workout they were in the mood for… so many requests came through for ‘something to help my low back pain’ that I couldn’t resist.
Low back pain, as you probably know, is the devil incarnate. Although your lungs and your legs may feel just fine, your back screams at you in the pace line, making every lap agony. And you know you’re not alone – as soon as the drill is over, you’ll probably see four or five teammates stretching, massaging and un-kinking their low backs too.
As I mention in the video, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to this syndrome. Everyone is built differently, so the source of your pain might be different from your teammates. But we can try to hit the key areas that tend to be underdeveloped in skaters, since muscle imbalance tends to be a big source of chronic pain. In the case of your low back issues, the most likely culprits are your hamstrings, inner thighs (adductors), and your abs. We’ll throw in a little low back targeting moves too for good measure.
Here’s the drill:
Alternate two cardio moves between 6 different targeted strength moves. Read to the end for the notes on form. DO IT or I’ll give you a noogie.
You need: a mat or towel. Optional: dumbbells (5-20 pounds depending on your strength level).
Cardio move: Power jax cross x 20 (targets your inner thighs) – count one rep for each squat in the down position. We’ll call this PJX20.
Bridge March x 20 (hamstrings and glutes) – count one for each step
Cardio move: High Knees x 20 (lower abs) – count one for both knees up. We’ll call this HK20 from now on.
Good mornings x 20 (hamstrings) – add hand weights if you like!
PJX20, then One leg deadlift (aka 1LDL) x 20 each side (hamstrings, core balance, left/right imbalances) – add a hand weight here too! (or don’t).
HK20, then Starfish sit-up x 20 (abs, inner thighs)
PJX20, then Egg beaters x 50 (abs, inner thighs) – count one for each out-in movement.
HK20, then Rollover Superman x 20 (obliques, low back) – count one for each superman hover.
… then repeat the whole set x 3!
At the end, why don’t you put in a final cardio set… PJX x 50 and a HK x 50 to round out the workout.
OK… notes on form!
Here are some pointers to make sure you’re getting the most out of these:
- Bridge March – tighten your glutes and abs before your lift into the bridge. The closer together your feet are, the harder this will be. Try to keep your hips as still as humanly possible while you march – imaging you’re balancing a wine glass on each hip bone. Don’t let that sh*t fall and break.
- Good Mornings – all your weight on your heels. try to lift your toes up while you lower your upper body. Focus on directing your hips backward, not on bending forward. Don’t lock out your knees, but don’t bend them very much either. If you have weights, hold a dumbbell in each hand while you do this. Imagine scraping your shins and knees with the weights (in other words, keep them close, not way out in front).
- 1LDL – your focus is not on bending forward but on hinging like a pendulum from the hip, while keeping your hips back (like good mornings – send your hips backward). Keep your raised leg and torso in a straight line relative to one another. If you have trouble with balance, focus on engaging (tightening) your abs. You should be reaching forward with the OPPOSITE HAND to the foot you’re standing on. If you have weights, hold one dumbbell in your outstretched hand. Keep it close to your supporting leg.
- Starfish – it’s not a porn star competition, so don’t worry about how wide you can stretch your legs out. Just do your best.
- Egg beaters – Hands under your bum. Keep your inner thighs, glutes, and abs engaged throughout. You can make it easier by resting your head on the ground, or by raising the height of your feet off the ground. If you have low back issues, please do this with your legs at 90 degrees to the ground.
- Rollover Supeman – I realize that I look a little more “beached whale” in the video than superman, but stay with me… Engage your abs and glutes before you lift into the superman hover pose! This is not a yoga contest so you only need to lift your feet and your shoulders about 2″ off the ground. Try to execute the rollover without using your hands or feet to push. You should be using your core muscles to generate the twist needed to roll you over.
xo Booty Quake