Your Lumbar spine is the lower portion of your back. Starting at the base of your thoracic spine to your Coccyx (your tailbone). Your Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is the joint between the Sacrum and the Ilium bones of the pelvis. The sacrum supports the spine and is supported in turn by an ilium on each side like bookends.
To improve range of motion, stretch in each direction of natural movement.
Literature suggests that we should be stretching 2-3 times a week.
One of my personal favorites to begin is not so much a mobility exercise or stretch as such. Grab yourself a Tennis ball or similar and give this a go. Standing up against a wall, roll the tennis ball around the muscular parts of your back, hips and the top of your buttocks. Finding areas of tenderness and focusing on them. You are in control of the amount of pressure you want to apply. The only place to avoid is directly over your spine. I always have a tennis ball close by, especially when I am travelling for training or competing.
Another one of my faves, this can be done in lying, sitting or standing. You can do it while queuing, sat at your desk and even on the bike…I have! Lets start in lying- maybe on your bed. Start on your back and bend your knees, the soles of your feet on the floor. In this position, the natural curve of your lumbar spine will lift the lower back slightly off the floor. As you breath out gently flatten your back into the bed as your rock your pelvis upwards. As you do this, you'll feel your lower back pressing into the floor. Stay here for a few breaths. When you're ready, inhale and return to your starting position. Do 5 to 10 reps.
Happy cat Sad Cat
What’s not to love when cats are involved in the name of the exercise.
Start on all fours-
Keep your knees spaced hip-width apart and your hands directly beneath your shoulders
Tighten your abdominal muscles and arch your spine upward toward the ceiling (angry cat). Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly relax your back.
Allow your stomach to fall toward the floor, bring your shoulders together and stretch your back downwards into a swayback position (happy cat)
Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. Do 5 to 10 reps.
Knees to chest
Start on your back. Draw both of your knees to your chest. Clasp your arms around them. If it is possible for you, wrap your forearms over your shins and clasp each elbow with the opposite hand. Keep your back flat. Release your shoulder blades down toward your waist. Broaden across your collar bones.
If it is comfortable for you to do so, softly rock backward and forward or side-to-side for a gentle spinal massage.
Keep your chin tucked slightly. Hold for up to one minute. Keeping your breath smooth and even. Release and extend both legs along the floor, rest and repeat.
Back extensions in lying
Start on your front. Bring your hands to your shoulders and push up, gently prop yourself up on your elbows. Hold this position while you take a few deep breaths and relax. To progress this you can use your arms to press up further lifting upper back and shoulders up. Hold the position for a few seconds. Then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the for 5-10 repetitions. Keep your back and hips relaxed throughout.
Stay tuned for our next session on hips and ankles. Don’t forget that a compensation in your lower back can be caused by hip issues.