It’s easy to quickly get tired of always hearing, “Stop slouching!” or “Sit up straighter!” Is there any science behind this annoying reminder from mom? Actually, yes.
When you slouch you are putting your body in a position that doesn’t require the use of any muscles. You hang on your fascia and musculotendinous junctions and round your upper back, which causes your shoulder blades to rotate out of position. Then when you go to stand up, your scapula gets stuck because your muscles are too stretched out to work properly. In short, slouching results in inefficient muscles and lower-back pain.
Lower-back pain is something that 80% of people report struggling with in their lifetime, making it the third most burdensome condition affecting Americans. Because it comes from a variety of factors, it can be hard to treat. However, most of the time it’s easy to fix. In order to help you strengthen the muscles in your back and therefore prevent you from having lower-back pain, here are a few exercises that will alleviate the pressure on your lower back.
Hip Flexor Release
- For this release, use two tennis balls taped together.
- Lay on your stomach and place the double tennis balls just below your hip bone.
- Lean a tolerable amount of weight onto the tennis balls.
- Bend the knee on the side of the release back to a 90-degree angle. Swing that leg side to side in a tolerable range of motion.
- Perform for 30 seconds on each side three times.
Hip Mobilization With Foam Roller
- Lie on one end of a foam roller so that the tip of foam roller is flush against the base of your spine (sacrum).
- Arms may be at the side in order to maintain balance.
- Raise both legs up while keeping knees straight. Make sure the sacrum is flush against the foam roller throughout the activity.
- Perform two sets of 30 reps.
King Cobra Stretch
- Lay on your stomach with hands palm-side down and turned out. Arms should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Slide one knee up to the side with the foot turned out, keeping the other leg straight and turned in.
- Push shoulders off the floor until arms are straight (like a cobra pose). Keep your shoulder blades down and back. Hips should stay down on the floor with elbows close to your sides. Squeeze your glutes.
- Look up and twist to the side of your bent leg.
- Hold for 30 seconds and perform three times on each side.
Hip Flexor Stretch
- Begin in split kneeling position (back knee down, front knee up) with the back knee on a soft pad.
- Forward knee should be directly above ankle with a 90-degree bend in knee.
- To begin stretch, shift weight forward into a lunge while keeping your torso tall and pelvis tucked under. The stretch should come from your pelvis and you should feel it in the front of the hip. Don’t lean forward with your torso.
- To get a deeper stretch, bring the arm on the same side as your back leg up over your head, then side bend and twist your torso away from the leg being stretched.
- Hold for 30 second and perform three times on each side.