The Best Lower Back Stretch You’re Not Doing
Use this lat stretch pre or post-workout to pamper your lower back
One of the health and performance hacks I’ve consistently recommended to Men’s Health readers over the years and in my bodyweight training book, “Your Body Is Your Barbell,” is hanging from a bar daily. Hanging vertically provides much-needed spinal decompression that lubricates, hydrates, and nourishes the intervertebral discs of your spine. This is especially helpful following compressive exercises like squats and deadlifts in the gym or sitting at your desk all day.
Most people know that the lats attach to the humeral head (or upper arm bone), but many don’t know that the lats also attach to the lumbar spine and pelvis. In other words, the lats will affect the function of both your shoulders and lower back.
And if your lats are stiff, when you extend your arms overhead as with hangs, pull-ups, or overhead presses, they will pull your pelvis into an anterior tilt and cause your lower back to hyperextend. This can lead to lower back pain and hurt performance.
But fear not, hangs will help correct this! The key to maximizing your hangs is to be sure to focus on pulling your ribs and shoulders down, crunching your abs, clenching your glutes, and breathing through your belly. Plus, add a twisting or spiralling motion with your legs while hanging as shown in the video really enhances the stretch from the shoulders through the hips and lower back.
Do this drill for 2 to 5 minutes using deep belly breaths before or after a workout or even between sets of a non-gripping exercise as a filler. It’s got a lot of bang for your buck and it will make you feel like a million bucks when you’re done. I guarantee it.
Article originally published on menshealth.com