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  • Writer's pictureEzara

Exercise for Lower Back Stiffness

So I polled a couple of my gymnasts and the majority asked: "My lower back is so stiff, what exercise do I do?"

* First and foremost I would say if this stiffness is something that has not resolved with stretching or mobility work and continues to either increase or stay the same, I would seek advice from a Physical Therapist or your PCP to get a PT referral, so the stiffness can be properly evaluated by a professional.

Many also asked: "What causes this stiffness?"

Many times stiffness come from the inability for a joint to move through its full range of motion, OR a tightness in a muscle(s). Either way: mobility is key!

This is my "go to" lower back mobility stretch for gymnasts with lower back stiffness.

Purpose By doing the lower trunk rotation, you will work on increasing flexibility in your low back (lumbar spine) and hips, allowing for greater mobility and rotation in the spine.


  • Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  • With your knees together, bring them to one side.  Your feet should stay on the floor.

  • Hold 10-15 seconds on each side.

  • Contract your abdominal muscles while moving your legs to the opposite side, again holding for 10-15 seconds

  • Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Disclaimer This exercise may not be appropriate for all types of pain.  If you experience increased pain while doing this exercise, stop immediately and contact your Physical Therapist.  Always contact your PT if you have any questions regarding your back or neck pain or about the suitability of this specific exercise.

BONUS: If you have UPPER back stiffness. This is my favorite exercise for thoracic mobility.

Reps: 3x on each side, hold each stretch for 30 seconds.

I hope this help-Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. As always, if anything gets worse or stays the same reach out to your Physical Therapist. These are general exercises and most stiffness stems for another issue that a qualified PT is able to assess and address.

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