Common Pain Points
There are 3 main muscle groups that I see get aggravated on most athletes:
2. Quadratus Lumborum
The Erectors (Iliocostalis, Longissimus, Spinalis) work together to keep the spine erect as well as assist in bending sideways and assisting the extension of the neck.
When lifting without using proper form or bracing techniques, the erectors take on a lot of the load causing them to tighten up, spasm, or stop working and allow another muscle group to take over.
Here are some stretches to keep the erectors healthy – Alternate between stretch and neutral spine 8-10 times with a 10-20 second hold each time. The advanced version can also be done with tucked knees to take the hamstrings out of the equation.
The Quadratus Lumborum attaches the pelvis to the spine. It is responsible for lateral flexions, like when you carry your grocery bags in one arm, it activates to keep your spine erect.
The QL on either side of your body usually works simultaneously so if one is overstressed, it can lead to pain.
Here are some stretches to keep the erectors healthy – Hold each one for 90 seconds per side:
The Psoas is responsible for flexion of the hip joint. Many people have issues with their psoas due to their day to day life. Sitting for long periods of time can shorten the Psoas muscle causing it and other muscles of the lower back and hips to aggravate.
Hold the stretch for 90 seconds per side. Make sure your rib cage is down to avoid overextension of the lower back. For a more intense stretch, squeeze the butt cheek of the bent leg.
My all-time favorite stretch: Bretzel
The Bretzel incorporates a stretch of the QL while opening up the hips (psoas and hip flexors) and lengthening the quads. Spend 90 seconds per side after your workout to reap the benefits!
To learn more about the anatomy of the spine CLICK HERE
Remember only a healthy athlete can be a successful athlete