Posterior Chain Stretching for Back Pain Relief

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Contributor: Melvin Cherian - http://getsetgo.fitness/#/public/coachprofile/melvin

TUCK! I heard that sound loud and clear and the next moment I was lying down on the gym floor. I was in pain and completely clueless about what to do next. Moments ago, I was doing some heavy deadlifts. Did you guess it yet? Yes, I messed up my back. Not the first training injury that I came across but definitely the worst." data-share-imageurl="">

Contributor: Melvin Cherian - http://getsetgo.fitness/#/public/coachprofile/melvin

TUCK! I heard that sound loud and clear and the next moment I was lying down on the gym floor. I was in pain and completely clueless about what to do next. Moments ago, I was doing some heavy deadlifts. Did you guess it yet? Yes, I messed up my back. Not the first training injury that I came across but definitely the worst. More than the pain, what disturbed me the most was the thought of being away from the weights for a good long time. Thanks to the series of injuries I had in the past that gave me the discipline to take my rehab seriously. 

What you are going to read further is something I wish to address out of a personal experience and my love towards understanding human body, biomechanics and it's extensive application in training protocols. 

Human body is a highly functional unit which stands erect because of a strong posterior chain. Posterior chain is a set of muscles, tendons and ligaments that runs through the back of our body. Calves, hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, rhomboids, latissumus dorsi, trapezius and rear deltoids along with their tendon attachments to the bones and ligaments make a complete posterior chain. Most of us do everything right. From training our muscles to eating right to resting well, most of us hit right in the bulls eye. But what we fail to realise is we mandatorily need to work on the flexibility and mobility of our posterior chain and improve it day after day

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Posterior Chain Stretching

Load bearing and force generation are the two things that our muscles are meant to physically be active at. When we lift a load, the motor units (muscle cells) fire to resist it by generating force. Force generation is the output of muscle contraction. The resting length of our muscle fibers keep shortening over time if we are actively training. This restricts the mobility and range of motion of our joints. While it is important to work on the mobility and flexibility of all the muscles to restore the resting length, I am going to be focussing more on the posterior part of the body

Any exercise done in the correct biomechanical fashion demands a neutral spine. Squats, deadlifts, bench press, over head press or any other exercise, you name it and it requires a neutral spine to prevent any injury. Especially while doing any compound lifts our CNS (central nervous system) and ofcourse our body is taxed heavily.

Dynamic Stretches

The entire posterior chain gets highly alert and active to maintain the posture of our body. Working on its mobility and flexibility can help us prevent a lot of injuries. Hence I recommend doing the following as part of your dynamic stretches before your workout:

  1. Standing leg raises to open up your glutes and hamstrings. This works as a pre activator for the muscles.
  2. Hip rotation to activate the movements in all directions.
  3. Cat and camel to improve blood flow through the entire back and make your cervical (neck), upper and lower back mobile. 
  4. Glute bridge to activate the glute muscles.
  5. Neck rotation to increase the blood flow and work on the mobility of your cervical spine.

Once these basic stretches are done, one is in the safest possible environment to train. The major reason behind this is that the joints get well lubricated with synovial fluid, so there is better flexion, range of motion and least friction. This sure does not mean that you have dodged all chances of getting injured, instead, it makes sure you are now ready to attack the weights safer. If you are one among the people who keep their ego high while training, the probability of you encountering an injury is even more. 

Static Stretches

Now that you have safely trained, you should consider doing static stretches to restore the resting length of the muscles. This again is crucial to maintain the flexibility of muscles and range of motion of the joints. The following are the best options in the static stretches for your posterior chain:

  1. Cat and camel- Hold each for at least 5 seconds and release.
  2. McKenzie stretch (cobra pose)- Hold the stretch for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Downward dog.
  4. Knee to side stretches.
  5. Knee to chest stretches.

Doing these on a regular basis before every training session keeps the posterior chain functionality smooth and eliminates the risk of any injury per se. You sure want to be able to stand straight without a hunched back and play with your grand children without any pain and discomfort when you age :) 

Cheers!

Dynamic Stretches - Leg Raises  &  Hip Rotation

   

Static Stretches 1 - Cat and Camel  &  Glute Bridge

   

Static Stretches 2 - Neck Rotation  & McKenzie Stretch

       

Static Stretches 3 -Downward Dog  &  Knee to side stretches

 

     

Static Stretches 4 - Knee to chest strethces

 

 

Contributor: Melvin Cherian - http://getsetgo.fitness/#/public/coachprofile/melvin

Share it now!
Contributor: Melvin Cherian - http://getsetgo.fitness/#/public/coachprofile/melvin

TUCK! I heard that sound loud and clear and the next moment I was lying down on the gym floor. I was in pain and completely clueless about what to do next. Moments ago, I was doing some heavy deadlifts. Did you guess it yet? Yes, I messed up my back. Not the first training injury that I came across but definitely the worst." data-share-imageurl="">

Comments

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    Madhu Rajputra Peravalli , Mon, 03/06/2017 - 19:42:

    Thanks.. This helps! What are the real advantages of stretching and why is it important?

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