Does your lower back ache like mad after about 20 mins of skating? Is it screaming by the end of your 27-in-5?
Back pain is really common in derby, especially when you are just starting out. Derby position is new to most people and keeping low,low, low whilst doing your laps is not something we generally do in normal life!
Muscles are being used and stretched that don’t normally get activated, so it’s not a shocker they are going to be whimpering for a while!
Disclaimer: If you have serious back pain that affects you in every day life and not just derby, go see a professional. This post is not about chronic back pain it’s only intended to give advice on the temporary pain often experienced during the fresh meat stage of skating.
In my opinion, derby-induced back pain is mostly down to two things; your body not being used to the position and not having enough core strength.
The first bit is easy; the more often you skate the more your body will get used to the position and the pain will eventually go away.
The second bit is also pretty easy; work on your core strength!
What does my core have to do with my back?
Well, your back IS part of your core silly!
Your core is literally your middle – your abs, sides, back, hip flexors and bum – and if part of that is weak, you can experience pain and instability elsewhere.
So we shouldn’t only concentrate on strengthening your back, but your front and sides too.
All sides of your core compliment each other.
Being in derby position or speed skater position requires a lot of core strength; your upper body is leaning forward and you’re moving your limbs in all directions, which can put a lot of strain on your lower back if the rest of your core isn’t supporting it (lazy sod!).
Lower Back Love Workout
Here is a super simple core workout that has options for increasing the intensity by adding weights. You can also up the ante by performing single leg versions of the glute bridge or deadlifts (which is a great way of evening up imbalances that only skating left creates!).
After a good warm up and mobilisation of the joints perform 15 reps of each move for 3-4 rounds.
Goodmornings – Legs straight but with soft knees and a neutral back, hinge at the hips and push your butt backwards. Bend until you’re near 90 degrees and can feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings. Use your glute muscles to return yourself to upright. Keep your back neutral at all times, don’t over arch or hunch or aggressively swing your body upright!
Stiff leg deadlifts – Holding weights your hands close to your body, hinge at your hips and lower the weights down keeping your back straight/neutral. Lower the weights to just below your knees and then use your glutes to bring your body upright. Maintain a straight back and neck throughout even tucking your chin in slightly so you don’t look up or down.
Bird dogs – Kneel on all fours with arms directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Keep your back straight and engage your abs whilst lifiting opposite arm and leg out straight. Pause for a few seconds before returning to the start and switching sides, count left & right as one rep. Make sure you keep your back neutral, no arch or sagging and keep your eyes looking directly down not between your feet or up in the air!
High plank raise – Get into a high plank position on all fours and engage your core and keep your back and neck neutral. Raise one arm and pause then switch to one leg. Repeat for opposite arm and leg. To make this harder lift an opposite arm and leg at the same time. Try not to let your body twist, arch or sag.
Glute bridge – Lie on your back with bent knees close to your butt. Engage your core and squeeze your bum glutes to raise your hips upward. Pause at the top and slowly lower back down. Keep your abs tight and push your hips upward.
Hip Thrusts – Get into the glute bridge position and use a mat or foam to protect your pelvis from the weights/kettlebell/barbell. Engaging your abs and glutes, raise your hips upwards and pause at the top. Try not to roll your hips up and down but instead push them directly upward.
Superman Hold – Lie on your front with arms out to the side as if you are skydiving! Squeeze your abs, glutes and back muscles to raise your arms, legs and chest off the floor and hold for a count of 10. Slowly lower back down to the ground. Keep your eyes looking forward not up to the sky or down to the ground.
Superman Pulse – In the same position, pulse at the top without letting your arms or legs touch the ground.
Superman & Lat Squeeze – In the same superman hold position, stretch your arms out in front of you then squeeze your upper and mid back muscles to pull your arms back making sure you can really feel the squeeze in your back.
Spiderman plank – Starting in the high plank position with tight abs and a neutral back, bring one knee out to the side and up towards your shoulder in a controlled action. Return to the start and repeat with your other leg, count left & right as one rep. Try to avoid twisting your body as much as possible and keep your hips raised and back neutral. You can also perform these on your elbows.
Other tips for lower back pain
- When in derby position, actively engage your abs – don’t know what that feels like? Push all of the air out of your lungs and then at the end push a little more. That sensation is your abs working!
- Try pinching your shoulder blades back and down to engage your upper back and core muscles whilst skating.
- Remember to stretch out after – stretch your hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings and lower back.
- Get out your foam roller/tennis ball/golf ball and get massaging!
So hopefully you’ll find these exercises helpful and I wish your lower back all the love in the world!
Treble Maker 909 xx
P.S Some other posts you might find useful: