Where Pain Strikes: Neck, shoulder, back
Problem #1: Poor upper-back mobility
The Fix: Lie faceup on a foam roller placed about midback, perpendicular to your spine. Place your hands behind your head and arch your upper back over the roller 5 times. Adjust the roller and repeat for each segment of your upper back.
Problem #2: Weak muscles in your back
The Fix: Perform the prone cobra. Lie facedown with your arms at your sides, palms down. Lift your chest and hands slightly off the floor, and squeeze your shoulder blades together while keeping your chin down. Hold for 5 seconds; do 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps daily.
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Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Where Pain Strikes: Lower back (because of the more pronounced arch in your lumbar spine). The tilt also shifts your posture so that your stomach pushes outward, even if you don't have an ounce of belly fat.
Problem #1: Your hip flexors, which allow you to move your thighs up to your abdomen, are tight.
The Fix: Kneel on one knee and perform a front hip stretch. Tighten your gluteal (butt) muscles on your kneeling side until you feel the front of your hip stretching comfortably. Reach upward with the arm that's on your kneeling side, and stretch in the opposite direction. Hold this position for a count of 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times.
Problem #2: Weak glutes
The Fix: The glute bridge. Lie on your back with your knees bent about 90 degrees. Squeeze your glutes together and push your hips upward until your body is straight from knees to shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds; complete 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps daily.
Where Pain Strikes: Knee, hip, or lower back
Problem #1: Tightness in the outer portion of your thigh (your tensor fasciae latae)
The Fix: Stand up, cross your affected leg behind the other, and lean away from the affected side until you feel your hip stretching comfortably. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Problem #2: Weak gluteus maximus and medius muscles
The Fix: Use an exercise called the side-lying clamshell. Lie on one side with your knees bent 90 degrees and your heels together. Keeping your hips still, raise your top knee upward, separating your knees like a clamshell. Pause for 5 seconds; lower your knee to the starting position. Perform 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps daily.
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Where Pain Strikes: Hip or lower back
You lack flexibility in all the muscles in your hips.
Drop to your hands and knees and place one foot behind the opposite knee. Making sure you keep your spine naturally arched, shift your weight backward and allow your hips to bend until you feel the stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times, and then switch sides.
Weakness in your oblique muscles and hip flexors
Try the Swiss-ball jackknife. Assume the top of a pushup position but rest your feet on a Swiss ball. Without rounding your lower back, tuck your knees under your torso by rolling the ball with your feet toward your body. Roll the ball back to the starting position. Do 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps daily.