The Static Back Position
The fundamental "static back" position is a bodyweight exercise that can help you get rid of your low back soreness.
- Static back causes immediate, positive changes to the alignment of the pelvis and spine.
- It uses gravity and your own bodyweight to coax the muscles of the low back into a more optimal length and tension.
- It involves a low degree of difficulty which allows key muscles throughout the body to release and activate for both immediate and long-term results.
Here's what it looks like:
The Set Up
Lie on your back with your legs up over a piece of furniture so your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. If your knees are flaring out to the sides when you relax this means your surface is too low and your hip and knee joints are not at 90-degree angles.
The 90-degree angle at the hip and knee joints is critical for this exercise to work. When the hips and knees are at 90-degree angles with the torso flat on the floor, signals are sent to the paraspinal muscles (the muscles that run alongside your spine) telling them to activate evenly from left to right.
Place your arms out to the sides at 45 degrees from your body with your palms up. This 45-degree angle at the shoulder joint with palms up will place the shoulder joints in a neutral position, which will allow for a more total release of the entire spine, not just the low back.
Chances are, one side of your back tends to do more work than the other. Here we're allowing both sides of your back to balance out, equaling an immediate reduction in pain.
Play around with different pieces of furniture in your house or at your gym (coupled with folded yoga mats, towels, or blankets) to form the perfect height for your body. Taking time to set yourself up properly will make a big difference in your results.
What You Should Feel
When you first get into this position you may notice that your low back is arched off the floor. Follow the pointers above to first make sure that your surface is at the correct height which can impact the position of your low back in relationship to the floor.
Once your hips and knees are in the correct position, relax and breathe until the low back settles into the floor naturally. Don't force the low back into the floor. By allowing the low back to naturally settle into the floor you're allowing the muscles of your spine and hips to respond to gravity and your own bodyweight for a more lasting change.
If your low back isn't arched off the floor to start, and it's already flat from the get go, chances are your hips and shoulders are uneven in relationship to the floor. In your case, stay here until your hips and shoulders begin to feel more even against the floor. Just like with the low back, don't try to force your body into a more even position, and don't try to pull your shoulders back against the floor. Simply relax and let gravity go to work on your body.
This settling process may take five to ten minutes, or it make take even more time depending on how tight and off balance your body is to start with. You can stay in static back for up to a full hour at first to allow for the re-balancing process to take place.
Expect to feel stiff and sore in new places other than the low back when getting up. You may experience this soreness and stiffness into the following day. The reason for this is because your body is in a new, more properly aligned position, and you'll be using its muscles differently. The soreness will dissipate over time the more frequently you do static back.
Tips for Maximum Results
- Breathe into your belly.
- Let your abs relax.
- Relax your whole body, including your feet.
- Don't hold your phone over your face to send text messages and don't read a book during static back. Your shoulders must be relaxed into the floor!
- Don't force your low back, hips, or shoulders to flatten to the floor. Let gravity do the work naturally.
Optimal Times to do Static Back
- First thing in the morning to get relief and to set yourself up for your day.
- Immediately after working out to release tight muscles and to re-set your spine and hips.
- Before bed for a better night's sleep.
- Static back should be done at least once daily and can be done more frequently as desired.
- Once the soreness abates, continue to do static back daily to prevent future problems from cropping up.
- The duration for static back is five to ten minutes, or as long as needed until the body has evenly settled to the floor.
Static back allows gravity to work with us to realign and re-balance the muscles of the spine. When our bodies are off balance, we experience pain and limited range of motion in the low back, and potentially in all other parts of the body. Static back begins the re-balancing process and sets the body up to get increased benefit from training.