One of the Most Effective Exercises to Use for Low Back Pain
Chicken or egg...your hips don't extend (go backwards or behind you) very well or "the correct way" and so that places stress and pain on your lower back over time or with certain activities. 0R, your lower back pain was present first and it created guarding and tightness in just a way that now you can't extend (go backwards or behind you) your hips very well.
What do you think?
Does it matter?
We would argue that from a rehab standpoint, no...the following exercise should drastically help either way regardless of which came first.
From a prevention standpoint, if you don't have back pain or just recently got over a back issue then this exercise would be ideal for you to add to your repertoire. This would in effect "prevent" your low back from having excess stress due to poor hip extension mobility.
In a study from 2015 (reference here), there was actually a 10 degree difference in apparent hip extension between people who had and did not have back pain. Considering that the truest amount of motion in the hip extension is usually around 15-20 degrees, then those 10 degrees become a very big deal for actions such as walking, standing, running, kneeling, etc.
Beyond that, many people work on hip extension or hip flexor stretching passively. This means that they're putting their hip into extension without using their own muscles to get there or stabilize there. This doesn't always result in great transfer to things when you have to actually move or use or body in space.
Give this drill a try and let us know what you think. The key is holding the glute engagement throughout the exercise and not letting the lower back go into extension. This is likely what happens when our hips don't extend as they could...our back goes into hyperextension for similar activities causing pain and issues over time.
Looking for more strategies such as this to relieve back pain? Then you can download my E-Book, "The 7 Secrets to Relieve Low Back Pain" here..."The 7 Secrets to Relieve Low Back Pain"