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Back Pain: Stretches with Stuart McGill

Back Pain: Stretches with Stuart McGill

The Cat Camel

Get on all fours and slowly move back and forth from a downward spinal curve with the head looking up like a cat and then move into a rounded spine while the head looks down like a camel. Each cycle should take about three to four seconds. 7-8 cycles are all that is needed.

Gist: Only do 7-8 cycles. More than that could be bad.


The Psoas Stretch

Get into a lunge position with one leg in front and raise your opposite arm overhead as you descend into the lunge. Then, bend your torso slightly to the side away from your back leg and drop your shoulder back to further target and stretch the psoas. You should feel a deep stretch in the psoas located in front of the hip of your back leg. Hold this position for a couple seconds and then take a step forward to switch your front leg and the raised arm and repeating the sequence. The goal is to perform six strides at a time.

Gist: Hold for 2 or 3 seconds on each side. Do 6 cycles per side.


Hip Airplanes

Assume a single leg stance, brace your core, and grip the floor with your planted foot. Then, place your hands on your hips and rotate your torso forward over your planted leg while kicking your back leg behind you. Keep the back leg completely straight and your planted leg knee in a slightly bent position. Next, rotate your hips in towards your planted leg (hip internal rotation) and then transition to rotating it away from your planted leg (hip external rotation). Aim for a total of 3 sets of 3 reps with this movement.

Gist: Do 3 sets of 3 reps.


Spine Hygiene

Stand with your arms overhead and count to 10. Then, reach higher and farther back for another count of 10. In this position, deeply inhale and work your way into an upright and stress free standing posture. By breaking up every 20-30 minutes of prolonged sitting with this drill, you’ll be able to prevent an excessive buildup of stress on your lower back.

Gist: Stand with the hands behind your back. Put your hands over your head for 10 seconds. Reach higher and further for another 10 seconds. Deeply inhale and go back to the normal free standing posture.


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