I did not just "invent" these movements. Each of these stretches and strengthening movements is based on solid work by experts in various fields. I'm simply utilizing these a little bit each day to get the maximum out of my limited time that I have.
This movement sequence of stretching and gentle calisthenics has virtually ELIMINATED my back pain and discomfort and I have tested it out by stopping and starting to see if it was a fluke. It's not.
It's truly amazing.
I have distilled down hundreds of hours of videos and online tutorials, and thousands of pages of text into a sequence of stretches and movements that can easily be done first thing in the morning because it is a gentle series of moves.
The simple fact is that there are only three possible reasons for back pain: either certain parts of your body are too weak, too tight (not enough range of motion), or you have an injury (or pre-existing condition). Now I'm not a doctor, so I'm obligated to say that before starting any kind of new movement or exercise or even stretch you should probably consult with your physician. If you're good to go then let's get into it.
NOTE: I am asking for a donation if you like the video and get some value from it (See "Donate" button below). It's up to you. You're free to watch it and share it, but please share this entire blog post instead of just the YouTube link. I want people, no I NEED people to read the entire text to be educated fully, and to get all of the information- some of which is described here and not contained in the video. Plus, I'd like others to have a chance to donate if they get some value from the video. I have spent a lot of time researching and practicing and learning in order to finally arrive at this information. I also really want to help others who are experiencing the same back discomfort and don't know where to turn. It's easy to get frustrated with back pain.
You should know that I didn't come up with all of this on my own. What I mean is that I am sampling movements from some of the best teachers and experts in the world as well as a few movements assigned to me by a physical therapist. Organizations and People like Dr. Stuart McGill, Dr. Eric Goodman, Ido Portal, Kit Laughlin, Kelly Starrett, Pavel, Joan Vernikos, Wim Hoff, Esther Gokhale, Coach Christopher Sommer (Gymnastic Bodies, and Ryan Hurst (Gold Medal Bodies). Google these folks for their amazing works and knowledge. I am standing on the shoulders of giants. Please note that I am not claiming any affiliation with any of these people or organizations and I am not claiming that they endorse anything I have to say- only that I have studied much of the available online content to arrive at a pattern sequence that works very well for ME. I'm hoping that that you too can benefit from it.
One more note- this sequence is ideal for not only inactive people just wanting to move their pain levels into something manageable, but it is also ideal for the accomplished athlete who wants to make sure that their spine is prioritized and that they keep their back, as is popular to say nowadays, "bulletproof". Also note that I am a married, working father of two young children. My wife is a professional who works more than full-time too, and we both commute. There is an extremely limited amount of time to do anything other than dishes, laundry, and pickup after the kids- so I understand what it means to "not have enough time" to workout or stretch or whatever...more than most single folks can comprehend.
I will tell you this honest truth: If you do nothing you will continue down a path of inevitable bodily disaster. This is the hard reality. The good news is that even small and gentle movements that seem too easy too amount to anything can and will change your life when done consistently. The beauty of my movement sequence is that it only takes about 15 minutes to complete and it is gentle enough to do either at four o'clock in the morning when you're exhausted and half-asleep, or after a long day of work and home-life at eleven o'clock at night. Plus, you only need a small space on the floor and a bar or rope to hang from (don't worry- no pull-ups here!). No fancy equipment or gadgets to sell you.
So take a look at the video and let me know how it goes. Again- please donate whatever you want if this video helps you, because I really want to know that others are getting value from my research and that they're overcoming their own back pain like me.
First some explanations. You should know that people in the modern world sit WAAAAY too much and that this, along with a sedentary lifestyle, is absolutely and undeniably causing physical problems in the human body. OUR human body- because believe it or not, you are a human being.
This sitting problem is true even for athletes.
So educate yourself about this problem of too much sitting on your own and start addressing this as well. Some people mentioned in the list above are great starting points. My movement sequence is not about working out- it's about mindfulness of what your body is doing or not doing. It's about addressing the root of the problem and undoing the damage. The intent of stretches is to increase your usable range of motion, not to make you sit on the floor in pain wondering when you'll be finished. Stretching has a bad rap and is not understood by most people- we'll get into this in the video. Next, the spine (and the entire body for that matter) was conditioned over many thousands of years of evolution to function and move in certain ways.
The body is adaptable yes, but at some point you can be applying to much stress from living in the modern world (sitting, hunching over a smart phone, etc) that the body begins to adapt for the worse. You will feel this pain, especially when consistently applied. Look at your feet for example. The feet of people in the modern world are weak and delicate for the most part. The reason is simple. If you break your arm what happens? They put a cast on it. What happens after weeks in a cast? Your arm atrophies a bit, becomes weaker and more delicate. This is similar to a slightly lesser degree to what has happened to your feet from wearing socks and shoes every day of every week of every month, year after year- your foot has essentially been in a cast. That's why it has a poor range of motion which unfortunately affects the rest of the body. You can't bend your ankles enough so you can't fully squat. It also affects your walking which puts more negative stress on your body. Your hips are likely also locked into a "sit" position so they don't have the necessary range of motion either. The result from this also guarantees that you can't squat and that your lower back is locked up tight. More pain, more vulnerability.
For the athletic types here a side note- it's important to point out that it's completely unnecessary to do large numbers of reps when dealing with bulletproofing your spine. Science has already shown us that you can gain as much cardiovascular benefit from a twenty minute (or less) high intensity interval as you can generally get from an hour workout on a treadmill or bike. The dangers of over-training, the silliness of wasting time, and the unnecessary wear and tear to joints cannot be overstated....especially when dealing with the spine.
Generally speaking, because we live in the modern world there are three main things I have found that need to happen in order for your back to become pain free: you need to both strengthen and practice utilizing your posterior chain, you need to strengthen your full anterior chain, you need to dramatically increase the range of motion of your hips (specifically the Psoas), and you need to lengthen your hamstrings. That's the simple concept. But just saying it is meaningless without an intelligent plan.
And that's why I now have a intelligent plan.
To dumb it down a bit further, consider this: you're probably not positioning and moving your body every day the way that it evolved to be positioned and moved. After literally thousands of years of evolutionary optimization the human body arrived at a place in its design and function. Then, in less than a blink of an eye on an evolutionary scale we find ourselves using our bodies completely differently. It's characteristic of physical shock.
To make it worse, the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons that you need to be using are probably not strong enough and probably don't have enough range of motion anymore because they haven't been used enough in the right way. Again, too much sitting and also not enough moving are the primary culprits but not the only ones. Intense one hour workouts everyday might help some but that alone won't cut it. Yeah you are strong and can throw barbells into the air. That's great, but you also need to be consistently putting special attention on UNDOING what all of us in the modern world do too much of: sitting motionless.
Waking in the morning from an eight hour lying position, you quickly find yourself sitting down to eat and then soon afterwards sitting in a car to get to work where you sit again for another eight hours. You may go to the gym but when you go home you'll sit in the car and when home, sit down to eat and then sit down to watch TV or play. Sure you can kid yourself with outlying examples of how this is not you because you workout at lunch, but for the most part, it is you. It's me. That's why I am working on slowly changing it.
The first step is to CONSISTENTLY WORK ON UNDOING THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY SITTING AND LIVING IN THE MODERN WORLD. This is why I offer the video here.
Wishing you health, wisdom, and strength.