After spending more than a few hours in an economy class seat this past month, my back was pretty tight. I don’t know how some people can sleep in those things, but they’re definitely not meant for someone who is 6’2″ and has long legs and wide shoulders.
As a result of this cramped soreness, one of the first things I do when I get to where I’m trying to go, whether that’s the hotel or back home (aside from sleeping like a rock), is try to get some light activity to get joints that aren’t happy to become a little more docile. Today’s movement is one that I’ve been doing more of myself, but also having more of my clients do on a regular basis as well.
A great thing about this movement is the fact that you can train spinal motion without loading it up or exposing the spine to potentially damaging forces. The low back should have some flexion capability to it, but when you load it up and go through flexion, bad things can happen, such as disc migration or herniation.
A big thing to remember with a movement like this is it’s not a movement to do for a deep stretch. Ideally, you just want to move through the range of motion you have within pain-free tolerances, and keep it to that. Don’t try to see if you can arch your back so hard you can rest your forehead on your bum, as that might be a little excessive. There is such a thing as too much mobility from a joint, and you can also damage any joint or muscle by trying to force a stretch, so go easy with this guy.
A good tempo to use is to move into extension slowly while breathing deeply and once you hit the end of the available range of motion, do a full inhale and exhale, then move into flexion slowly and controlled, and repeat the breath in that position. Do this 5-15 times, depending on how tight you’re feeling and whether you want to just do this for a while, and you should be feeling like happiness personified.