There is a way to keep your back healthy over your career. Whether you are a serious lifter, athlete or fitness fan, you’ll want to know at least one of several exercises you should do after you squat. Or after you lift in general.
Should I Stretch After I Squat?
Science has proven that stretching has its role in certain aspects of fitness, however this day and age, those who stretch aren’t doing much good as the knowledge of how to do it correctly is usually not applied. This results in more damage being done than more good.
There are several reasons for this:
1) The level of intensity of the stretch (aka “pull”) is too great
And tendons are being torqued on as well. This can cause instability in the joint, a loss of power, and more importantly, microscopic tissue trauma to the tendon which will catch up to you later, if not sooner!
2) There is already fibrotic Build-up and Stretching Only Makes It Worse
When tissue is damaged, the healing process helps to form fibrotic tissue. This tissue is quite strong and resistant to stretch. It’s like a patch of spider-man’s web that cannot be broken.
The muscle tissue around it gets pulled on, however the patch work itself does not budge. This sometimes results in agitation of the tight, weak or agitated area.
3) The irritation is actually in the tendon
In which case, any pulling will create short term relief, yet the pain/injury will never truly disappear.
4) You’re stretching the wrong area
For many, low back pain is a problem and although it seems logical to stretch it out, it is not often the culprit, and so no relief or repair is felt.
What is often the problem is QL, Psoas Major (Hip Flexor) or the Hamstrings. And if you do not squat with proper technique, the low back gets added on to that list.
According to Dr. Stuart McGill, a brilliant mind I have had the luxury of meeting, any static stretching to relieve back pain is often analgesic in nature.
It feels good for a brief time, yet in actuality has done more harm than good.
So How Do I Keep My Back Healthy After I’ve Done Squats?
There are several ways to keep a back strong, one of which I use for many clients who have low back pain can be viewed right here.
And as for stretching are keeping your back healthy after you squat, I suggest one of Tommy Kono’s exercises he swore by during his career.
I do not recall if he named it, yet I call it “scissors” with my clients.
All you do is find a bar you can grab and hang on it as if you were doing a pull-up. try to keep the torso motionless while you swing (in a controlled manner) your legs from front to back.
Your left leg goes back while your right leg goes forward, and so forth.
Keep your knees straight and DO NOT over-pull or over crank on this exercise.
Tommy Kono’s back exercise is actually quite brilliant. If you look at what muscles move when your legs move like that you’ll notice that many muscles involved in low back pain are being mobilized, and in a safer and much more dynamic fashion.
Add in the spine decompressing as the lower part of your body pulls on the vertebra and it is a fantastic way to decompress after you’ve done squats (which compressed your back).
I would recommend 3 sets of 16 (8 per leg for 16 total)
Also check out my other blog post that relates to this one, where I talk about the most popular useless exercises.