My Pre Workout Back Pain Mobility & Stretch Routine

Have you ever tried using stretching to relieve lower back pain?

I have, and it never seemed to work.

I have a tiny list of stretches I would suggest someone with low back pain or a post-fusion warrior do to bring relief from their pain. 

Using stretching to reduce low back pain is not something that people should focus on. 

Instead, I suggest you use targeted movement and gentle stretching to improve the way you move and do specific exercises in the gym. 

To show you exactly how I do this I want to share with you a recent post-surgery and back-friendly warm-up routine I did before a lower-body workout the other day. 

If exercise has been causing pain. Be sure to download My FREE Pain-Free Training Guide before your next workout.

Is Warming Up Needed Before A Workout?

Warming up is one of the most critical elements to your workout when it comes to exercising with a history of low back pain. 

The list of reasons I think warming up is essential for low back pain is massive, but to keep things short, here are a few of my main focal points. 

Warming up allows for an increase in blood flow:

When it comes to back pain, you want the body firing on all cylinders, and the best way to lube the joints and create stiffness in the right areas is to get the blood pumping. 

Adding gentle yet strategic movements to your pre-workout warm-up routine will do just that.

Warming-up stiffens the core:

If done correctly, your warm-up should include core exercises that will help create stiffness around the spine and reduce the sensitivity you experience. 

Warming up creates a “non-threatening” environment for your brain to snack on:

Exercise is a stressor. If you’re in pain, there are many elements to exercises that scare you or may trigger pain. You want to use the warm-up to reduce this perceived threat. 

Warming up allows you to experience a low-threat variation of exercise for the brain to feel safe and “let go” of any underlying tension or stiffness it needs to create to protect you.

This is thinking on a different level, but if you train your brain to do it, you will better understand why the medical model has failed at giving us the tools necessary to see lasting relief. 

Is Stretching Good For Back Pain Relief?

is stretching good for back pain

Stretching is not an excellent first choice if you’re looking for lastin,g low back pain relief. 

Now, in the context of a pre-workout stretch routine safe for back pain, there are a few things to consider. 

The goal of a pre-workout stretching routine is NOT back pain relief. Instead, the stretching and movements we choose should focus on allowing our bodies to perform the desired task (exercise or activity) with fewer restrictions and compensations from other muscles. 

What do I mean by that? 

Take the hips and low back. The tighter and more locked up your hip joints are, the more stress and work the low back will endure due to having to compensate for the lack of movement at the hips. 

Therefore if the hips are tight and restricted, spending time working on this area is excellent. 

Here is a post I did on back pain friendly hip mobility exercises!

The worst thing you could do is experience low back tightness after a workout and immediately start applying stretching to these tight muscles. 

Instead, it would be best to look at how often you are training and how much training you’re doing on a given day. 

What Does The Best Pre-Workout Warm-Up Consist Of?

Core Exercises for low back pain relief

When it comes to the best pre-workout warm-up, I like to keep things as effective as possible while doing the least amount of work. 

Here’s what I focus on during my pre-workout stretch or warm-up routines. 

  1. The Warm-Up: Typically consists of 8-10 minutes of either fast-paced walking or on the cardio machine of choice.
  2. Mobility or Stretch Exercises: I will pick 1-2 joint-specific movement exercises that compliment what I am doing that day. For example: if I am doing legs, I will do 1-2 hip joint dominate mobility drills. 
  3. Core Work: I will pick 1-3 core exercises that compliment what I am doing that day. I always do my core work first and or start with one exercise and sprinkle the rest of the exercises in between exercises for that day. 

From there I will focus on the workout itself and finish with 10 minutes of recovery. 

Here are some resources of where I talk more about warm-ups that are back pain friendly!

The Best Warm-Up Stretches For Back Pain

Two Things You Should Do Before Your Workout