Stiff Back? You Might Be Hurting It By Stretching

May 16, 2013 | Kasey Esser

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

Curing a stiff or achy lower back requires more than dropping back into child's pose.

It's a common misconception. Although a static backstretch may feel awesome, it's actually ineffective for stretching back muscles. This is due to the fact that you may just be stretching your neural tissues.

According to Dr. Stuart McGill, neural tension is commonly mistaken for muscle tension. Your nerves weren't designed to stretch but to slide and give. This is what allows movement. Based on McGill's research, from a neural perspective, static stretching "deadens" muscles.

Deadened muscle tissue could cause performance problems because it diminishes the stretch reflex, decreasing peak strength and power.

To avoid this potential issue, athletes must focus more on dynamic movement in their thoracic spine and hips. Increased mobility gives the low back stability.

Following the principles of Mike Boyle's and Gray Cook's "Joint-by-Joint Approach," you can reduce low back stiffness by including at least one thoracic spine and hip mobility drill in each workout.

Get started today with the following drills. I highly recommend them as suitable for any athlete.

Welcome to the new form of back stretching. At the beginning and end of your workouts, perform 10 to 12 repetitions of each drill.

Side-Lying Extension-Rotation

This active mobility drill will open up your thoracic spine. Just make sure to brace your abdominals to keep your lower back from rotating.

Split-Stance Adductor Mobilization with Foot Swivel

Adductor mobility is an often overlooked component of hip mobility. This drill attacks the adductors while forcing the hip to both externally and internally rotate as you move your foot.

Photo: wellnesscourier.com

Kasey Esser
- Kasey Esser, CSCS, CPT, is a trainer based in Beverly Hills, Calif. He formerly worked as an assistant strength coach at the University of Evansville.
Kasey Esser
- Kasey Esser, CSCS, CPT, is a trainer based in Beverly Hills, Calif. He formerly worked as an assistant strength coach at the University of Evansville.

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 182,224
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,271,129
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 81,017
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,781
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,195,981
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,321
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,467
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,921,007

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

3 Steps to Alleviate a Sore Neck

3 Steps to Alleviate a Sore Neck

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

What’s With the Stethoscope? Heart Murmurs in Athletes

What's With the Stethoscope? Heart Murmurs in Athletes

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Fix 3 Common Ankle Problems to Prevent Injury

Fix 3 Common Ankle Problems to Prevent Injury

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

Megan Rapinoe’s Secret to Staying Healthy

Megan Rapinoe's Secret to Staying Healthy

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Train With Running Blisters

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

6 Stretches to Alleviate Lower-Back Pain

6 Stretches to Alleviate Lower-Back Pain

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

YardBarker