Want to know how to loosen (and prevent) a tight low back?

by Pilates For Sports

You’ve trained and raced and your back is tight and sore! Sound familiar? This is one of the most common issues athletes experience!


Before we look at how to stretch out your back, let’s have a look at what causes this problem and how Pilates can fix it.


So, what are the common causes of a tight low back? Three main areas that can lead to a tight low back are:


1) A weak core – the core abdominals are like a big girdle that wrap around the torso and support the spine. If they are weak, then your back is not supported. Try this:

•           Bend forward at the waist and let your stomach hang out. See how this feels on your back... note the pressure in the lower back!

•           Now, let's engage your core. Stand tall, pull your belly in (think belly button to spine), like a girdle.

•           Keeping your belly in, lean forward again... note how your back is supported!

2) Muscle imbalances – when this occurs, strain is placed on the joint. One of the most common imbalances is tight hip flexors. Hip flexors actually attach onto your lumbar spine (arch of your lower back). If they are too tight, they pull on the lower back and cause back pain.


3) Poor form – if you move poorly, you will develop muscle imbalances that will cause pain and tightness in your back and other areas. This must be fixed before we can start to move freely and perform at our best!


In summary, in order to develop and maintain a back that does not feel stiff and sore you need a strong core, balanced muscles and good form.


To loosen your back, you need to look at all of the ranges of motion a back can move in. It can flex (bend forward), extend (arch), side bend and rotate. So, in order to loosen and develop balanced muscles in the back, we need to move it through all of these ranges of motion.

Try this quick workout to loosen your back (refer to this video):

•           Before you start, do a sit and reach test. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and see how far you can reach. Remember this!

•           Complete the workout in this video.

•           Now, do another sit and reach test – I'm betting you can reach further! Post this on insta with #BeYourBest and the amount you improved. We'd love to hear from you!

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