Low back pain is rarely normal when you’re exercising. There are times when you can have soreness but this all depends on what exercises you’re doing.
It could be a warning that your back muscles (the erectors) are taking over for other muscles. Most of the time it gets worse the longer it stays, but the main issue is that it can mean your performance is not efficient.
Would you ever think using a spoon to cut steak is the easier way? No, because the function of the spoon is not to cut. But that is what is happening when the back takes over the movement it is not meant to do.
What I’ve found to be the common reasons for the erectors to kick in:
1. Tight hips. This makes it hard for the leg to extend. If the body needs to do that movement, it can come from the upper torso by arching the lower back. This can also be connected with weak glutes. Check out my other blog about this topic.
2. Weak glutes. Part of the glutes’ job is to extend the hip. As with tight hips, if the glutes can’t extend the hips the erectors will arch in the lower back to create the movement.
3. Low abdominal endurance. The abdominals help stabilize the pelvis while the leg muscles use it as an anchor to create the lower body movement. If the pelvis is not stabilized then some muscles are not able to create the movement, leading to the erectors to assist or take over the movement it can.
4. Poor technique. It’s hard to judge your own technique. I have not been able to correct my technique because my body and eyes are always lying to me. It feels and looks like I’m doing the movement correctly but I have often been off. Even after you’ve established the proper technique, it’s helpful to get it analyzed every once in a while.
Here are some glute strengthening and abdominal exercises you can start using.
Bear Plank Leg lift: Alternate lifting legs. Keeping abdominals tight.
3 Point Plank: While in plank position, alternate touching each opposite shoulder.
Semi Squat Elastic Hold: No need to do repetitions, the exercise is held.
You’ll notice that your performance will get better as you fix any or all of the above issues you have. Not to mention your back should feel some relief.