Strength & Fitness

Is your back being bothersome? We can help with that.

There are few things that can affect your training and workouts like an injury. 

You start the day feeling great. It’s going to be the best day ever! You’ve been staying consistent with workouts, your nutrition. Everything is going your way it seems. Then - poof! - you feel something tweak. 

This happens to everyone. It’s possible to avoid with proper form and care being taken. But injuries can happen. They can be difficult to deal with, both emotionally and physically. 

The type of injury we are going to speak on today is the lower back. This part of the body is probably one of the most injured parts in CrossFit and in daily life. And it’s certainly one of the most frustrating. It will resolve itself on its own most of the time, but not always. 

Our goal here at Aerial Athletics is to keep all of our members healthy for the long haul. More progress can be made with consistently showing up to the gym, day after day, week after week versus going super hard for 4 days, and then being laid up for 2 weeks. 

What is happening when you experience lower back pain you ask? One of two things.

Could be discogenic low back pain (disc herniation) or non-discogenic, which involves the muscles, joints, and ligaments within the low back. The latter is the usual culprit of low back pain in CrossFitters. 

When lifting with improper form or loading the back more than it’s capable of handling, it can result in a sprain or strain of the muscles and/or ligaments in the lower back. This is much more common than disc herniation. Should these risks shy you away from lifting heavy? No. The coaches here at Aerial watch closing to make sure everyone is lifting with proper form. But that doesn’t mean it still won’t happen. 

How should you treat your lower back pain? If this has been a long-term issue that has been failing to improve, it is best to consult with your doctor. But if this is an issue that flares up from time to time, it may be from weak or immobile muscles in your lower back. Therefore, you should be doing exercises to train those muscles. While lying around might be what you want to do, movement will help you feel better. These muscles, ligaments, and tendons will get tighter with limited movement.

Exercises that help with lower back pain

  1. Glute Bridges

Not only do these target your glutes, which are key to keeping your pelvis in proper positions, they also target muscles throughout the core, lower back, and legs. Start with doing 3 sets of 10 and add more sets/reps as you progress.

  1. Bird Dogs

This exercise challenges your coordination, which is essential for proper movement. It also helps to strengthen muscles in your shoulders, core, and legs. Start with 2 sets of 10 on each side and add more sets/reps as you progress

  1. Wall Sits

This static exercise forces you to maintain stability in your pelvis and challenges your glutes, adductors, and hamstrings. Start with 1-2 sets of 45-60 seconds. You can make these more challenging by doing them longer or holding some weight in front of you. 

  1. Alternating Cobra and Child’s Pose

If you feel your lower back is tight, a lack of mobility may be the reason you are feeling pain. These two poses will stretch the muscles in your torso and lower back and get you feeling better in no time. Start by holding each pose for 30 seconds each for 2 sets. As you progress, perform more sets. 

If your back is bothering you, don’t be afraid to get back in the gym. Laying around, expecting it to heal on its own won’t do you any good. You can get back in the gym, as long as you scale and modify the WODs to your abilities. Us coaches are happy to tailor the workout to your needs and will always provide alternative exercises if something is causing you pain. Please remember to always let your coach know if you have an injury or if something is painful.

Key takeaways:

  1. Always make sure the weight is tolerable. Pushing beyond what you are capable of will result in more pain. It’s literally what caused you to get hurt in the first place!
  2. Keep your ego in check. You won’t be able to lift what you’re used to. Focus on your movement patterns and making small improvements over time. Don’t sacrifice your progress just to hit a big number.

Your back is super strong. It can handle some abuse, but you aren’t made of glass. It is important to listen to your pains. It’s normal to have low-grade pain immediately following a workout, especially one heavy on the posterior chain but it shouldn’t become chronic or long lasting. If you have any other questions on this topic, let us know!

Matt Kaitchuck

Coach/OnBoarding Specialist