Do you suffer from low back pain? Have you in the past? Most adults will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.
And part of this has to do with the initial set up of their low back and pelvis.
In previous posts we’ve talked about how the low back and pelvis is like a bowl of water. When the belt line is parallel to the floor no water spills out of the front or back of the bowl. However when the belt line points down to the front (anterior tilt) water will spill out of the front of the bowl. And if the belt line points up to the front (posterior tilt) then water will spill out the back of the bowl.
If start with a compensated position (where water is spilling) to begin with we are asking for trouble when we add load, reps, sets and intensity on top of this faulty position.
So what do we do at this point? How do we learn how to correct this faulty position which leads to a low back injury?
Well the first thing we need to understand is the range of motion we have from a posterior to anterior tilt. Oftentimes people will struggle with moving into posterior tilt, especially if they have excessive arch in their low back.
To learn this range of motion, and to feel how to move between posterior and anterior tilt, we like to use the cat & camel drill.
Here’s how to set up for this exercise:
* Start on all fours
* Place the hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips
* The head and spine should be in neutral alignment
From this set up here’s what to do:
* With the fingers splayed push the floor away from you as hard as possible
* Imagine a fish hook pull the back up to resemble an angry cat
* Imagine scoping ice cream with your butt (or spilling water out of the back of the bowl)
The last piece of imagery probably cured any craving for ice cream you may have had. You’re welcome.
A few other notes to keep in mind:
* Hold the top position for a 3 second count.
* Keep the head neutral and relaxed throughout
* Relax as you drop down from the cat position, in a camel position
Give this drill a try in your warm-up doing two sets of eight reps. We want to hold the cat position to really ingrain the feeling of having a posterior tilt.
When we’re standing around this becomes easy to by simply placing the hands on the glutes. Contracting the glutes will bring the pelvis from a posteriorly tilted position.
However when we are in a face down (prone) position we can forget how to realign the pelvis to take strain off the low back. So whenever you are doing doing push ups, planks, prone rows or anything else face down remember to spill some water out of the bowl (or scoop ice cream with your butt)