In the early days of my functional fitness journey, my back would sometimes lock up so bad I couldn’t complete my training for the day. For me, it also created crippling muscle soreness and for an athlete training for the CrossFit Games not being able to train proposed a huge problem; I’d be unable to reach my goals.
Back tightness is a very common issue for many of our clients. Even if you’re not training for the Games, back tightness is frustrating, steals your progress and disrupts your everyday life.
It’s common for back tightness to occur in workouts containing a lot of hip flexion (aka: squats) paired with posterior chain exercises (aka: deadlifts or running). Clients who have tight hip flexors or who sit most of the day struggle with back tightness the most.
In a nutshell, the hip flexor wraps around and attaches to your back, and if it’s tight, when you perform a squat the muscle pulls and puts pressure on your back. Then when a posterior chain exercise is introduced to the workout you may start relying heavily on your lower back (rather than your hamstrings) to perform most of the work. This combination is an equation for your lower back to blow up!
To remedy, try these 3 simple exercises for 30 days before and after each workout to alleviate your chronic back tightness. I’ve been performing these exercises for years and haven’t had back tightness since!
- Use a Lacrosse Ball to break up myofascial tissue in your hip/psoas for 1 minute per side. Breaking up myofascial tissue will allow the muscle fibers to move more fluidly.
- Couch Stretch x 1 minute per leg. The couch stretch loosens the hip flexors and can release tension on your back.
- 50 Glute Bridges. Glute bridges will activate the muscles you want to use during the workout (aka: your butt and hamstrings). Being able to use your butt and hamstrings in the workout will help take the load off your lower back.
Try these other simple things you can do while you’re at work.
- Use a standing desk. Sitting for several hours throughout the day can lead to tight hip flexors.
- A quick couch stretch every hour.
- Try to take a break and walk around every hour.
Our personal trainers and group coaches value lifting weights, and using multi-jointed, functional exercises performed at high intensity. You don’t have to guess what to do!
If you need help with chronic pain, modifying workouts or help with extra warm-ups or cool-downs, please schedule a free consultation with one of our coaches → → I’M READY TO MEET WITH A COACH!
COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 3 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier