A seemingly harmless thing to do is to slump forward after a kick-butt workout. Renowned physical therapist Robin McKenzie explains that overstretching of the ligaments and the surrounding tissues triggers most back pain. Which is in turn often caused by bad posture and the loss of the arch in the lower back. “After activity, the joints of the spine undergo a loosening process. If, after exercise, we place the back in an unsupported position for long periods, distortion within the joint readily occurs. This is true, whether we sit in a slouched position or whether we stand, bending forward with our hands on our knees.”
Avoid slouching. Perform five back bends immediately before and after lifting. “By standing upright and bending back before lifting,” explains McKenzie, “you ensure that, as you begin the lift, there is no distortion already present in the joints of the lower back.” Place your hands in the small of your back pointing your fingers downward and keep your legs straight. Bend back slowly using your hands as the fulcrum, pause for a second, and return to the upright position. Try to bend further with each successive rep.
Just because your back started hurting immediately following a given activity, you should not automatically blame the activity. Things are not always as they appear to be; most likely it was your slouch. So avoid slouching after vigorous exercise and wrap up with the same five back bends.
Some Russian coaches have their athletes lie on their stomachs and read a book after practice.