This video shows a simple exercise that can activate (or ‘wake-up’) key muscles that, when not working as they should, can prevent the spine from bending forward properly. Because this exercise ‘decompresses’ the low back, it can often result in better backward bending as well.
Important: if you are not a patient of our clinic, don’t use this exercise until you have consulted your doctor or therapist. This article and video are for my patients only because they will have been briefed and shown how and when to do this. This exercise video is not for ‘blanket use’.
The muscles affected are primarily the lumbar spinal erectors, the gluteus maximus and hamstring chain, and the all-important psoas group (a hip flexor).
- You’ve just had a back pain episode, and things are settling, but your low back muscles are still reluctant to bend forward as well as they did before
- You have a stiff back after a lot of sitting (and need to get it moving again)
- You want to ‘wake’ up your back before exercise or vigorous movement (it’s a great one to incorporate into a stretch routine)
When not to do this exercise?
- Any significant breathing or cardiac problems (it’s quite exertional!)
- You’ve got a significant painful knee or hip problem
- You get sciatic pain down either leg when doing it
- Any mild to moderate low back-ache that does NOT go away quickly as you do it
- Any severe low back pain
- If this exercise causes any dizziness, vertigo or a headache, STOP
Test out your standing bending forward after doing the exercise. If the exercise has worked, you should find it a lot easier.
Finally, BE CAREFUL not to rock so far back that you fall backwards! Get into the exercise carefully until you are familiar with it.