Lately I have been hearing many of my friends in the online forums and support communities complain about lower back tightness, tension, and soreness. They’ve been asking if there is anything that I can recommend they do in order to relieve the tension and get on with their workouts.
Now before I continue, I must make it absolutely clear that I am not a doctor or specialized therapist of any kind. If you are experiencing lower back pain I recommend that you first consult with your physician to ensure that the problem is not any more severe than you may believe.
The tips that I am about to share are based on my personal experiences with lower back tightness or soreness and how I relieved the tension.
The majority of people who have been looking to me for a solution to relieve their lower back tension, had mentioned to me that it was after a leg workout that they began to feel the tightness in their lower back. Although they never felt any pain or soreness while performing the squats, deadlifts, or lunges, they questioned whether or not they performed the exercises correctly. The soreness kicked in for them on the day following the leg workout.
It has been my experience on each occasion that I have felt tightness and soreness in my lower back, that it had nothing to do with my lower back muscles at all. It had everything to do with my leg muscles and even more so, my glutes (butt). More specifically, it’s been knots in my glutes. It hasn’t been a result of a muscle pull or strain. Just knots from working the muscles hard.
Often times when you have tightness or knots in your glutes you will also end up with tightness in your hip flexors and IT band. Over the course of this video series I will demonstrate stretches and actions that you can take to relieve tension in all of these areas.
The tip that I am about to share with you is very similar to a strategy that a Massage Therapist would use to get rid of knots in your muscles. With deep tissue massage the therapist will find your trigger points and place pressure on the knot with their thumb or elbow. This is very painful at first and you can feel the muscle begin to pulsate intensely. As you relax and as the masseuse continues to hold the pressure, you will notice that the pulsating and pain subsides.
In order to reproduce this treatment in a similar fashion on yourself without assistance, I have found that a golf ball or bocce ball work wonders. There are some areas of my body where I prefer to use a foam roller, but when it comes to my glutes and certain areas of my back, I prefer to use the golf ball or bocce ball.
I demonstrate how to perform this treatment in the video above, but a few key points that I want to emphasize is that you take your time and roll the ball slowly across your glutes in a back and forth as well as side to side motion, experimenting with different angles at your knee joint.
When you come across a knot you will certainly know it. It will grab you, as it’s quite painful at first. The key is to relax and take a few deep breaths. As your glute muscle relaxes you will feel yourself sink onto the ball. The pulsating will begin to subside and then it’s time to continue rolling slowly until you find another knot.
I recommend spending 10 minutes on each glute. Really take your time working out the knots. Keep this up on a daily basis even if the tightness in your lower back goes away. Consider it preventative maintenance at that point. The more that you do this, the easier and less painful that it will become. If you are really tight, you may want to do this exercise two times each day.
After rolling your glutes for 20 minutes I recommend performing a glute stretch. If you took your time working on your knots you should feel instant relief when you stand up. The soreness may not be completely gone, but there should be some relief.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I’ll be back again soon with some more stretches and exercises to relieve your lower back tightness.
Before I go, I have one more question to answer… “Can I continue to workout and train legs while I’m experiencing this lower back tightness?”
Once again, I am not a doctor and I do not know the severity or root cause of your lower back tightness, so I urge you to first consult with your physician. Now that the little disclaimer is out of the way, what I have done when I know that my lower back tightness is caused by knots in my glutes, is continue to weight train, but with lighter weights. When I perform the squat I make sure that I go deep and get a great stretch. The combination of lighter weight and deeper squat has helped me speed up the recovery process. But once again, this is just my personal experience. I am not a doctor and can not speak for your specific case. I am simply offering up some tips and advice to explore.
I hope that these tips have been useful to you.
Sculpt a Masterpiece,
PS Self-massage using a foam roller and massage ball should be a part of your daily health & fitness practices. Angie and I will record more video demonstrations soon for both the lower and upper body, but in the meantime, if you experience knots in your mid and upper back, or have shoulder problems, I highly recommend the Fix My Shoulder Pain program, which includes a huge library of short self-massage videos.
Scott Tousignant, BHK, is a Certified Fitness Consultant with a passion for transforming fitness enthusiasts into physique artists. His most recent program, Metabolic Masterpiece guides you through the process of sculpting your body into a work of art, by applying what Scott has coined, “The A.T.T.R.A.C.T. Formula. His detailed approach and variety of workouts makes fitness challenging, fun and effective!