Low back pain is something almost everybody experiences at some point in their life. And once we’ve suffered through some low back pain we usually want to know what caused the pain and what to do about ensuring it doesn’t happen again.
And while there may be a variety of causes and types of low back pain there are some things in common to all. First of all, in order to prevent future episodes of low back pain we want to to ensure we have a solid foundation and can move through an optimal range of motion.
To look at the first condition for a solid foundation we need to consider our posture. Do the joints of the body stack evenly like pieces of lego? Or are there some areas where they are deviations from optimal alignment and smooth curves?
This may get tricky for the lay person because how are they to know what is optimal? And often times manuals and references used technical terms which can confuse even people who work in the fitness industry.
In this case I like the way Dan John describes the relationship of the hips and pelvis with the torso. He has described this as a box (torso) sitting on a bowl of water (hips & pelvis). Does the box sit squarely on the bowl of water? And is any water leaking out of the bowl of water? If so, is water leaking out of the front of the bowl (anterior tilt) or the back of the bowl (posterior tilt)?
If the rib cage is flared or tilted up than the box is not sitting squarely on the bowl of water. And if we are spilling water than we know how to correct this problem as well.
The solution comes via the kneeling plank. It should be obvious that Dan John came up with this drill seeing as how he was a Catholic high school religion teacher for many years.
All the time spent in mass during Catholic school was quite possibly the origination of the kneeling plank.
Here’s how to perform this drill.
Place a heavy kettlebell on the floor behind yourself.
Take a wide kneeling stance. The knees should be wider than the hips.
Be on the balls of the feet.
Sit back to grab the handle of the kettlebell.
Sit up as tall as possible while squeezing your glutes.
Ensure you are not spilling any water out of your bowl.
Ensure your box sits squarely on the bowl.
When it is your turn have your training partner place a hand over your head to encourage you to be as tall as possible. Imagine pressing the floor down with the balls of the feet while getting tall.
Use this drill as part of your warm up to stretch your hips and groin. As well, you can incorporate it into your daily routine anytime you have been doing a lot of sitting i.e. travel, work, school etc.