The hardest workout for endurance athletes is rest, especially when it's to recover from an injury.
Runners, cyclists, triathletes and regular gym goers train hard. If there's no pain then there's no gain. But with the constant wear and tear on the body, many experience pain in the lower back.
Protecting the spine is of utmost importance when training. The best way to help reduce back pain is to stretch, but with so many moves, how do you know which ones are right for you?
Anthony Lauretta, PT, DPT, OCS is the clinic director of Texas Physical Therapy Specialists' Cedar Park location, and has put together a stretching program to reduce low-back pain. It consists of two exercise groups, both accomplishing different things.
GROUP ONE: "This first group of exercises is to focus on stretching muscles that attach to the pelvis and act on either the lumbar spine or the lower extremities," shares Lauretta. "Decreased flexibility in these muscles will result in abnormal forces acting on the pelvis, creating abnormal mechanics during many activities."
These stretches should be performed in a series of four repetitions; 1 to 2 times daily. Hold each move for 20 seconds on each side.
Hamstring Stretch in Supine (Opposite Knee Bent)
Lie on your back with knees bent in tabletop position. Hold the right leg with your hands behind the thigh. Extend the left leg straight out, resting on the floor. Straighten the right leg toward ceiling while keeping your back flat. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Sit on the edge of a chair with one leg straight. Keeping the spine straight, slowly bend body forward until you feel a comfortable stretch in the straightened leg. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Piriformis Stretch in Supine
Lie on your back and bring your legs into a tabletop position. Cross your right ankle over the top of the left knee. Grab the thigh of your left leg and gently pull it toward your chest as you continue to press your right knee away from you. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Hip Flexor Stretch 1/2 Kneel
Kneel on the left knee while the right foot is a couple feet in front of you. Slowly shift your weight toward your right leg until you feel a slight stretch in your left leg. Try to keep your hips level at all times. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Hip Flexor Stretch in Supine
On a bed, begin on your back with the right leg hanging over side. Pull the left knee tight toward your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
Quadriceps Stretch in Side Lying
Lie on side. Grab the ankle of the top leg with your hand and slowly bring your heel toward your buttocks until you feel a slight stretch in your quads. Hold for 20 seconds and switch sides.
More: How to Target Your Quads