Marla Lower Back Stretch

Die untere „All in One“ Rückenstreckung

David Grant

Hometraining

Die untere „All in One“ Rückenstreckung

The All-In-One Lower Back Stretch

 

 

Where to even start about the awesomeness of this stretch? By the time you are done reading this blog you will see the beauty of this baby and will be motivated to add it into your life for sure.

 

So why is this stretch so great? Because it allows everyone to focus on his or her weaknesses, and trust me – they are there. From the avid cross fit athlete, weekend warrior, pro athlete or simply mom and dad – this stretch does a fantastic job in highlighting our tightness.

 

Because at GTS we believe we should not sit longer than 30 minutes a day. The 30 minutes should be on the floor (not in a chair.) And every 2 minutes (standing or sitting) we should focus on changing our position. You can imagine why our back would be tight –right?

 

In 2017 the common approach is to take some medicine to hide the pain and continue to go. Not only does this destroy our stomach and intestine. It simply just masks the pain. Can you imagine if the mechanic just unplugged your “check engine” light when he fixed your car? Or would you feel a bit safer when he did a detailed check to see why the light was turned on in the first place? That is exactly what Ibuprofen, and other pain medications are doing. To top it all off, once the pain is “gone” or lets say “hidden”, what do we usually do? More of what was causing the pain! Does not really make much sense when we think of it that way does it? That would be the equivalent of needing a simple maintenance in your car (so the check engine light comes on) and later needing a new engine or car because the mechanic did not do his job. Now replace the word “engine” with “shoulder” or “hip” and everything should be really really crystal clear.

 

So what about that stretch? As you will notice in the video attached below what makes this stretch so “unique” is the ability to modify it. One may have the goal to touch the feet completely over their head to the floor, while the other may see the benefit in activating the stretch in the calf muscles. In these two goals we also have different variations about how to go about them. For people wanting to stretch the lower posterior fascial line they could focus on completely locking their knees and pulling the toes towards the shins. Or they could focus on keeping the entire leg (from the hip region) straight and not allowing it to externally rotate (you might notice going “pigeon toed” in this position really lights the peroneals on fire.) And so far we have just spoken about the lower body!

 

What about the people that are tight in their upper neck/shoulder regions verses the global stretch of the entire spine? Is one better than the other? Of course not! But what we can focus on is when we do both of them, which one is worse? Which one is tighter and hurts more? Well, we now have our answer for which one we need to focus on! But in both positions when the client turns their neck (and isolates different neck muscles) they are still stretched in both positions. From the global back curve it is a stretch of the muscle and the overall fascia connecting them to the posterior fascial line. If the client bends more from the upper back when bringing the feet over, then the concentration is more on the neck muscles themselves.

 

I personally love doing this stretch in the morning before I start my day. It is CRAZY to see how much tighter I am than later in the day. However, by me opening up and activating my posterior fascial line with this stretch, I am sending a message to my nervous system that it should not be so tight! This is great because once my body understands it is holding more tension there (most likely from sleeping the night before and is just tight) it starts to be more aware and helps keep it loose during the day.

 

One more important caveat that must be discussed is the importance of “resting” the feet. While there is no real scientific evidence for what I am about to say –listen close anyways! When our feet are hanging over our head (verses placed on something like a chair or couch) I believe it is difficult for the nervous system to relax. Our brain has no idea if the feet are a ruler away from the ground or a few meters. So our nervous system reacts and does not allow to full relaxation of the muscles. Some tension is kept to help us balance and stay “safe.” However, once you have your feet resting or planted on a fixed platform your breathing increases and your legs can relax. Now your nervous systems knows that you are not doing a back roll off of a cliff or 3 meters away from touching the ground. If this sounds crazy, I have experimented with clients and had some of them do both. Which one do you think gained a better ROM (range of motion) in a shorter amount of time? Exactly, the one that was able to work with the nervous system and not against it.

 

So now it is time to run off and try this stretch on your own. Play with all the different ways and find what works best for you! If you want more info then check out my website (www.gtsgermany.com) and programs I have to offer there! And of course my social media sites like Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram where I post a lot of little social media gems like this!

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