I wanted to welcome you to this video on the 5 Stretches that injure your back and what to do instead.
1. Worst Stretch for Your Back
The #1 worst stretch for your back is the Double Knees to Chest. You often see this, and it is often given to people with back pain.
What people do is they bring their knees towards their chest, and they pull with their hands. Plus, they might be bringing their heads up off the floor.
With this one, what it ends up doing is it puts a high load and stress on the low back because what ends up happening is your back flattens out. When you flatten the back or bend it forward, it puts a high load on that back, increasing the risk of injury in that back and re-injury, so you may want to avoid that.
Do This Instead.
What we can do instead of the Double Knees to Chest exercise is we can do the Cat and Dog Stretch.
You go into a 4-point position, drop your head, and round out your back like an angry cat. Focus on rounding up through that mid-back. Then, lift your head and drop your stomach in a slow and controlled manner. Remember to keep your arms straight.
With this cat and dog stretch, what you are doing is we are working on improving that mobility and movement throughout the whole spine.
Regarding the low back, there are specific movements that we need to improve. One movement we need to improve on is the mobility of that back, especially the mid-back. Many times in that mid-back, people end up being stiff and need to improve that movement to decrease the stress in the back.
You would do this for 1 set of 5 repetitions, and then you can progress to 10.
2. Worst Stretch for Your Back
Now the #2 worst stretch for your back that people often will do is Single Knee to Chest.
This exercise brings one knee to the chest and pulls it tight. Some people might even bring their heads up and hold the stretch for 20 to 30 or even 60 seconds.
Once again, this is bad exercise. It puts less stress on the back compared to Double Knees to Chest, but it still puts a high load of stress on the back, increasing the risk of injury and irritation.
I will recommend doing other than this exercise would be the one that we did before, which is the cat and dog stretch. A few experts have said that the cat and dog stretch is one of the best exercises you can do for your back.
3. Worst Stretch for Your Back
Let me go to the #3 worst stretch for your back, the Toe Touching Hamstring Stretch.
You start in a standing position and try to touch your toes. Looking for a stretch in the hamstrings.
Once again, we are rounding out through that back which puts a lot of load on that spine. This leads to putting a high load on the back and lots of stress on the back and increasing the risk of back injury, back pain, or a re-injury to the back.
Do this instead.
If you are going to target the hamstring stretch, what I like to do instead is a Dead Lift Hamstring Stretch.
In doing this, you will spread your legs hip-width apart, and knees are bent as I reach down to my toes. I go to a point where I feel a slight stretch in the hamstrings and then come back straight.
You can have the knees straighter if you don’t feel it with your knees bent. Do this with one set of 2 to 3 repetitions with a hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Worst Stretch for Your Back
The next one, the #4 worst stretch for your back, is putting the feet together and dropping the knees to one side (Knees Side-to-Side stretch).
This ends up putting a lot of torque and twist in that low back, and this might feel good, but it is putting a lot of bad stress on the back, and it increases the risk of injury, pain, and re-injury of the back, so you want to avoid doing this.
Do this instead.
What I recommend for people to do is Knees Rocking Side to Side.
Staying in the same position and you rock the knees side to side. You might go 10 to 20 degrees to one side and 10 to 20 degrees to the other.
I will end up doing the rocking movement and what I am looking at is one set of 5 repetitions on each side, and I can progress to 10 repetitions.
5. Worst Stretch for Your Back
Now to the #5 worst stretch for your back, the Pulling the Knee Across.
You will see it as a progression of the one before, where one leg is straightened up and bringing the other knee as far as it can.
If you have ever been to a chiropractor, you know that they end up putting you into this position to realign your spine. They are experts, and they know what they are doing when they have you in this position, but for you and I who don’t know, if we do this stretch, we put our spine at risk of damage.
What I would end up doing is will eliminate that one. It is the exercise that I used to give ten years ago when I was newish out of school, now it is absolutely an exercise that I don’t do. I cringe when I see it in the gym and encourage people not to do it.
Do this instead.
The alternative that I end up doing is I will end up getting them into a sitting exercise, and this one is called Sitting and Rotating.
You move your back away from the back of the chair, cross your arms like a genie, and he will rotate to one side and then to the other. We will do this with one set of 5 repetitions on each side.
So there you go, which ends up being the 5 Stretch injuring your back and what to do instead. I challenge you for the next week to give those alternate exercises a go and see how your back ends up feeling.
If you are looking for a program to fix your back pain and get you back to pain-free workouts, then make sure to check out Fix My Back Pain here:
Rick Kaselj, MS.