No Back Pain, More Gain: Moves to Relieve your Lower Back Pain

June 23, 2015

Hi all!

This week I started to train a new client: the classic guy who works daily over 7 hours in front of a computer, not physically active in the past, and a bit overweight. I said “classic guy” because it happens quite often to find someone like him: people that prioritize work over quality of life, getting caught up in their busy schedules. Usually during first meetings I do a kind of interview to check and to prepare a personal program focused on my clients goals and skills, and in the case of my new client, he would like to eliminate low back pain and tension on his upper back, which he has been suffering with for years.

A good prevention for the usual back pain connected to a sedentary life and bad posture is a good program of exercises focused on relaxation, soft stretching and back mobility. An improvement of core strength is also highly beneficial to protect your back. I also do some of these exercises when I feel tension on my back and they work perfectly to restore flexibility and reduce the sensation of strain in that area. These are also perfect after a hard session of running or weight training as a cool down phase. In fact, I use many of these exercises at the end of my trainings with the fighters at MMA Munich. Even if I really push them near their limits, I always try to find 5-10 minutes to focus on flexibility and relaxation at the end of our trainings. My policy is no pain and gain! it´s important for anyone that does sport to feel good, tired and relaxed after a good sweat session, instead of completely destroyed and painful.

All you need is a soft Pilates ball and a mat. If you don’t have a Pilates ball yet, I highly suggest you invest in one. They are relatively inexpensive and can do wonders for the health of your back. I recommend this model here.

Perform each stretching exercise for 30 sec to 1 minute, depending on the time available. Check it out!


Position of the ball

It´s very important to use the ball under the back on the right position: don´t put the ball under the low back (pictured left) but in the space between low back and bottom (pictured right). In this way, the ball is supporting the pelvis. Use arms and hands in contact with the ground to help the balance your body. Just by resting in this position for a few minutes can significantly alleviate any lower back pain you might be suffering. From this position there´s the possibility to do a lot of exercises.


Single Leg Stretch

From the starting position, flex and extend the legs, alternating the right and the left, always keeping the core active and not losing the control of the hips. Try to keep the hips in line with your back. Inhale when you are changing from one leg to the other exhale during the flexion of knee.

DSC_0377 DSC_0376

If you want to focus  on an even deeper stretching, try to do the same exercise with both legs in extension. Inhale when you are changing and exhale pulling the leg in the direction of the chest. 


V Pose

This one is a good exercise and a soft stretching for adductors. Starting with the legs up in a vertical position, open them on sides relaxing the adductors. Inhale closing and exhale opening. You can also help the opening by pushing the legs with your hands in the direction of the ground.

DSC_0372 DSC_0373

Side twist

Relax the back by twisting the pelvis to the sides, focusing on the breathing and on the low back mobility. Inhale in the middle, exhale moving to the sides.


Crossed Leg Stretching

With one foot in contact on the opposite knee, pull the vertical leg with your hands in the direction of the chest with a controlled and deep breathing. Do this without causing any tension on the neck and shoulders. Keep the position for 30 seconds on each side.


Happy Baby Stretching

The position of the hands depends on your back chain flexibility: hands touching the toes for someone more flexible and hands touching the legs or knees for someone who still working on their flexibility.


From this position extend alternating the legs or extend both at the same time in a V position.

DSC_0399  DSC_0401

Chest Opening with a Lateral Twist and Adductors Stretching

With both feet in contact on the ground and one hand on the opposite foot, try to open completely on one side, with the arm in a vertical line. If you feel unstable or on the toes you probably need to go higher with the bottom. Switch sides and stretch the opposite arm.

DSC_0583  DSC_0584

From this position with both elbows in contact on the knees push on side and try to open the angle between the legs, maintaining the knees aligned in the same direction of the feet. It’s important not to cause any torsions on the knees.

DSC_0585  DSC_0586

Child’s Pose

Come to the ground with your body resting on your knees and remain in that position for around 1 minute (or more if you like and if your schedule allows). Focus on your breath and relax your back completely. Imagine that you want to hug your knees with your shoulders, having no tension on the muscles. Enjoy this moment.




Thank you to Pilates Plus for the availability of our photo shoot location. If you live in Munich or are just passing by, you should try one of their many Pilates classes.


You Might Also Like