Focus on mobility through the hips and upper back. This is doubly important for anyone who likes weightlifting, crossfit, or most sports and athletics. We require adequate mobility through the hips and upper back/rib cage so that we don’t force too much motion through the lower back while training.
Hip and Thoracic Spine Mobility Routine:
Cat/Camel; Thoracic Rotation Series; Thoracic Extension Bench; Hip 90/90 Stretches; Adductor Rock Backs
Endurance testing is meant to tease out subtle differences in side to side and front to back core endurance that can down the road lead to injuries. Lack of endurance in the core can cause early fatiguing during workouts and is a common reason for injuries in the low back.
We tested endurance in the prone extension, the sit-up endurance, and the side bridge on each side.
The Foundational Movements
These movements should be developed early on in training and practiced even in elite athletes with a history of low back pain. The key for each is to learn how to control movement (by resisting movement) in the low back. Your goal is to maintain stiffness in the torso while performing these exercises. They can be made more difficult by gradually increasing tension in the body.
Modified Curl-Up – (w/ powerlifter Brian Carroll)
Side Bridge – (w/ rolling progression)
The rules for progressing and regressing exercises:
1. Protect the lower back! You need to be able to control the movement in the lower back. This typically means resisting motion. If you can’t perform the reps perfectly, then regress the exercise.
2. Progress exercises once you can perform them perfectly. Increase difficulty through increasing tension via exhaling, then by adding resistance with bands or with weights.