Have You Been Bending Over Wrong? How Proper Form Can Relieve Lower Back Pain
If you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced lower back pain at some point from simple everyday activities like bending over to pick something up. I used to just grit my teeth and deal with the pain, assuming it was normal. But I recently learned that bending over incorrectly can actually be the root cause of chronic lower back issues.
“Oftentimes, we think of fixing lower back pain by relieving that area of the body,” explains Tyler, a coach at WeShape. “But the reality is the reason why you have lower back pain in the first place is because you don't know how to properly move through your hips."
This really opened my eyes. I realized I was always bending at my lower back to pick things up rather than hinging at my hips. As Tyler explains, “What we want is your pelvis and your spine to be in one piece as you hinge through the hips to pick stuff up off the ground. But what most people do is the opposite. They bend through the lower back. Their spine now is bent. Their pelvis is still in the same position. And as you come down like this, you're putting a ton of pressure on the discs and the nerves in your lower back and in your spine, which causes lower back pain.”
Learning about this improper movement was a lightbulb moment for me. No wonder I had chronic lower back soreness! But the good news is, Tyler shares a simple movement called the frog hip hinge that trains your body to pick things up properly.
The key points that have helped me relearn movement through my hips are:
Take a wide stance with toes slightly turned out. This gives you more flexibility through the hips.
Keep your knees pointing the same way as your toes to avoid knee torque.
Push your butt back first to initiate the movement.
Keep your core engaged like you’re finishing a cough. This supports your back.
Only go down as far as you can without rounding your back. Don’t push past your flexibility limits.
Squeeze your glutes to return to standing. This avoids straining your lower back.
After just two weeks of practicing this simple hip hinge exercise for a minute a day, I’m already noticing a difference. My lower back feels stronger and looser, without the chronic tightness I used to feel. I find myself automatically hinging more from the hips now during daily activities. Turns out proper form really is the key to eliminating back pain!
If you struggle with lower back soreness, I highly recommend trying the frog hip hinge exercise Tyler demonstrates. Just one minute a day can get your body moving properly and relieve back tension. As Tyler says, “I promise you it’s gonna change the way your lower back feels, and it’s gonna give you so much more freedom to move your body the way you want in your life.