Volleyball Players: Avoid Low Back Pain With This Stretching Technique

August 6, 2013 | Tony Duckwall

Must See Volleyball Videos

Sore low backs are common among volleyball players midway through the season. Despite their athleticism and dedicated training, many players suffer from back pain. The cause is simple to diagnose but hard to treat.
Volleyball players move in short explosive bursts of three to five steps throughout games and practices. These movement patterns, repeated hundreds of times weekly, have a cumulative effect of shortening the hamstrings. As the hamstrings shorten, they pull on their attachment at the base of the pelvis, which causes the pelvis to rotate backwards, increasing stress at the sacroiliac joint and leading to low back pain.

Although common stretching techniques can provide partial relief, basic static stretching won't completely alleviate the symptoms. However, Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a fantastic technique to gain greater length through the hamstrings and relieve pain. This form of stretching was developed by Aaron Mattes, a registered kinesiotherapist and licensed massage therapist, whose techniques have helped thousands of professional and amateur athletes improve their agility and avoid injuries. Whereas static stretching may temporarily lengthen the muscle, Active Isolated Stretching functions as a multi-pronged approach by loosening tight muscles, grooving new neural patterns and increasing range of motion around the joint. These factors combine to offer immediate relief.

The AIS stretching protocol follows four distinct points:

  1. Isolate the muscle to be stretched
  2. Repeat the stretch eight to 10 times
  3. Hold each stretch for no more than two seconds
  4. Exhale on the stretch; inhale on the release

Athletes and coaches can apply these points to any muscle in the body. However, for preventing low back pain among volleyball players in particular, two muscles are critical: the hamstrings and the piriformis. Start the new stretching protocol by practicing the following stretches after workouts and on recovery days to help gain extra length through these areas.

AIS Hamstring Stretch

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your right knee slightly and place your right foot flat on the floor to take the tension off your back.
  • Keep your left leg straight with a band or rope draped around your foot. Hold an end of the rope in each hand.
  • Contract your quads and hip flexors and lift your left leg as high as you can, using the rope to increase the stretch with a gentle pull.
  • Hold the stretch for two seconds before lowering your leg back to the ground.
  • Repeat for a total of 10 reps; repeat with your right leg

AIS Piriformis Stretch

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your right knee slightly and place your right foot flat on the floor to take the tension off your back.
  • Bend your left knee and rotate it outward so your left ankle is crossed over your right knee.
  • Pull your right knee toward your chest. This should create a stretch deep in your left hip.
  • Hold the stretch for two seconds before lowering back to the ground.
  • Repeat for a total of 10 reps; repeat with your right leg

Active Isolated Stretching is a great technique to increase flexibility in tight muscles. However, it doesn't take the place of regular flexibility and mobility work. Incorporate the above stretches into your regular flexibility routine to reap the benefits of better movement and less pain throughout the volleyball season.

Read more about relieving back pain:

Photo: coreperformance.com

- Tony Duckwall is the athletic performance director for KIVA volleyball and IFHCK field hockey and co-owner and sports performance director for Louisville-based EDGE Sports Performance....
- Tony Duckwall is the athletic performance director for KIVA volleyball and IFHCK field hockey and co-owner and sports performance director for Louisville-based EDGE Sports Performance....
Must See
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 8,039,197
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,214,177

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,018,026
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,983
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,834
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

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,770
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,480
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,163
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,164

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

On average, 75-85% of Americans will suffer from low back pain sometime within their lifetime.1,2 This pain may be a result of a traumatic event such as...

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

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

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

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

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

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Megan Rapinoes Secret to Staying Healthy

Megan Rapinoe

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

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

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

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

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

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

YardBarker