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End Back Pain with this 10-Minute Daily Mobility Routine

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Millions of people suffer from back pain. It doesn’t matter how fit you are; if you spend any part of your day sitting at a desk, in a chair, or in a car, you’re prone to having tightness issues through your lower and upper back that cause pain.

Often, the pain comes from muscle tightness, and the ones most prone to this that cause the most problems are your hip flexors.

Your hip flexors attach to the front part of your lumbar spine, travel through your pelvis, and attach at the other end to your upper thigh bone (femur). Picture yourself in a seated position (vs. standing). When you’re seated, that muscle is in its shortest position. And if you spend a lot of time seated, it starts to adapt to that position.

Then, when you go to stand up, given that it’s now short and tight, it starts to pull on things — namely, the vertebrae of your lower back.

And it doesn’t feel good.

About five months ago, I decided to try an experiment, as I too suffer from occasional bouts of back pain.

I created this very simple routine for myself and committed to following it daily.

Within about three months of daily, consistent practice, with no variation from my routine, my back pain virtually disappeared, and I can feel a difference in the flexibility of my hips, lower back, thoracic spine and shoulders.

While I can’t guarantee that for you, I know that these simple stretches can work wonders toward improving your mobility and flexibility, and they can help keep you out of pain.

Watch the video (top of the page) to learn and follow along with the routine I’ve been using. I’ve also listed out the routine below.

In the comments, let me know if you try it, what your questions are, how you like it, and what sort of results you experience down the road!

10-Minute Mobility Routine

1. Psoas (hip flexor) stretch
Time: 2 minutes each side

  • Lunging position
  • Tuck hips under (flatten back)
  • Drive knee and hips forward
  • Adv. Option 1: Grab back foot
  • Adv. Option 2: Use a couch or wall

2. Lower back, glutes, knees, ankle stretch
Time: 2 minutes each side

  • Crossed leg position
  • Bend forward
  • Use object to pull yourself forward

3. Thoracic (upper) spine
Time: 2 minutes

  • Foam roller
  • No foam roller option: Kneeling, arms outstretched, armpits and chin toward the ground

4. Bonus: Hamstring stretch
Time: 2 minutes

  • 2 legs outstretched
  • Bend forward
  • Option: Use rubber band, rope, belt around bottom of feet to help pull yourself down

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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.