3 Accessory Movements to Keep Your Lower Back Healthy
Accessory movements are movements that can be done before or after class to keep your body healthy and your joints feeling great. These are not for time or for AMRAP, they are meant to be very deliberate movements that support our other compound movements that we perform in CrossFit such as squats, deadlifts, cleans, and snatches. Here are 3 that we suggest doing at least 3 times per week before or after the workout to keep your lower back healthy.
Reverse Hypers are one of the best ways to strengthen your posterior (hamstrings, glutes, erectors, etc.) chain without directly loading the spine. This movement was developed by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell out of necessity. He needed a way to rehab his back after many injuries and voila! the Reverse Hyper was created. To execute this movement, put your feet in the straps and hop up on the pad and grab the handles. Your hips and pelvis should be able to move freely so keep them off of the pad. Squeeze your glutes to bring the weight up and relax your glutes to control the weight on the way back down. On the way down, you’ll feel a great stretch all the way down your back. Do this exercise 3-4 times per week for 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps and your back will thank you!
Glute Hamstring Raises
The Glute Hamstring Raise is a great way to strengthen the hamstrings and the glutes. We use these muscles very often in CrossFit so it’s extremely important to work them in different ways. Also, this movement coupled with the Reverse Hyper is a great way to keep your whole posterior chain healthy and functioning properly. To execute this movement set up with your feet inside the cylindrical pads pushing through your toes on the metal plate and your knees wedged in the pads. Your knees should fall through the pad slightly, but be wedged enough that your not falling through the GHD machine. Start with your hamstrings engaged so knees are in 90 degree flexion. Now, lower your body down to the point where your knees are almost fully extended, at this point you’ll be looking at the ground. Now squeeze your hamstrings, calves, and glutes and raise to the starting position. Do this exercise 3-4 times per week for 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps to build your barbell lifts and stay healthy!
Banded Good Mornings
The banded good morning is another compliment of the Reverse Hyper and GHD Machine. This exercise is a great way to get blood flow in to your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Also, you can use this as a warm up for barbell movements or for after a WOD. To execute this movement, grab a green or blue band and step on it with both feet. Bring the band up around your shoulders or neck and stand up. Now, send your hips straight back and keep your knees fairly flexed so that your hamstrings and calves light up. Once they do, squeeze your glutes and reach hip extension. Do this exercise 3-4 times per week for 3-5 sets of 20-30 reps to keep that lower back healthy!
As always, see a coach for help with these movements. Done correctly, these movements will help keep your longevity high with training. WODs, Skills, and Strengths are always tons of fun, but focusing on the little things pays BIG dividends!