Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hip Flexor and Back Pain

The question: How did you overcome your back pain?

Answer: I haven't! I hurt right now. It does have an adverse affect on all activities and probably reduces my over all strength by a huge amount (I will describe this in another post). Really, it is there most of the time and perhaps the pain is dulled because my body has adjusted and turns pain in that area off. I get days and weeks that don't bother me as much as others. When this happens, I forget my injury is chronic and do something stupid (read fun) that aggravates the injury again. I am better than I was 2 years ago. At that time I couldn't put on socks or skivvies. A couple cortisone shots in the spine (OUCH!!!!!) and hundreds of swings and the pain seems to be remedied.

Kettlebell training allows me to have an active mostly pain free lifestyle! I am strong, loose and better than average flexibility in all areas. Body areas damaged by severe trauma function relatively normal and don't impede performance too much.

Part of the process of pain relief is learning about the back and it's function. Here are some thoughts:

I read somewhere that building lower back strength is best avoided. It is better to build endurance in the back so that you can have longer periods of time without back pain. I've found this to be true.

It is essential to keep the hip flexors loose. It is common for most of us in America to have tight hip flexors. The main reason is the amount of time we sit. It is also common for many Americans to have chronic back pain. If you do the math, they are related. When you are tight, your pelvis is being pulled. This is what the hip flexor is supposed to do. It causes your butt to stick out and your upper body to roll forward. When this happens, the lumbar region undergoes serious stress. The weight of the upper body and head is supported by this region.

Supporting the upper body is best left for the hips and pelvis. When the hip flexors are loose, weight is shifted and centered on the hips. You've guessed it, the stress on the lumbar is relieved.

Two easy ways to keep the hips loose. First, kettlebell swings, duh!

Second is to pry the hips in a stretch similar to the yoga cobra. When on your hands and knees, tighten you butt, breath in and drop your hips (butt tight). Look over your shoulders towards your feet. Try to see the opposite foot. Do this multiple times during the day.

Contact me if you would like more info on being loose and mobile!

Pull up 5x5 alt with swings, 1leg DL and 5 r/l windmills. 16k

Clean and Jerk: 7 min 24K 5l,5r per min. (70 reps)

Snatch VO2: 15 on/15 off. 22 sets of 8 reps. (176 reps) I learned I can do 9s on the right. (Left back is too weak only 8s on left)

Snatch 24K 5l5r x 5 (50 reps). I need to do more with the larger weight.

Hanging leg raises 5x5

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