Putting back pain behind you! – Coach James

When it comes to back pain unfortunately it’s not as simple as a one size fits all approach but there are some things everyone can do to ease it and prevent it from worsening.
For most of us, the problem comes from spending the majority of our day in the office sat down at a computer, take this for an example. The morning comes far too quick for us anyway so you may have only gotten 5-6 hours sleep in which you’ve spent in the foetal position (on your side knees into chest), you get out of bed and probably spend 1 hour stood up showering and getting ready for work, then you leave your apartment and get on the tube, right you’ve spotted 1 seat and before you can get to it someone jumps in and steals it, luckily for you, you get to stand for your commute to work but you don’t see it like that as you wanted to sit down and read the news.
You arrive at the office and sit down at your desk with a coffee and maybe some breakfast. 8, 9, 10+ hours pass and you’ve maybe only had an hours lunch break in which you’ve stood up only to go to the toilet, so already you’ve spent 15-16 hours of your day with your hips flexed, that leaves 9 hours left, maybe you go to the gym for an hour or 2 and you squat and deadlift which are all hip flexion movements that will eventually tighten up your hips even more because you don’t want to stretch because you’ve had a long day at work and just want to go home and sit down even more in front of the TV so you feel ready to do it all again the next day! The ratio of having your hips closed to them being open is ridiculous! We’re talking almost 20 hours a day of our hip flexors in a flexed position and you wonder why your back hurts!

So what’s happened is you’ve shortened your hip flexor muscles so much to the point that when you stand up they don’t have the length to open fully so the only other option they have is to pull your pelvis forward which in return pulls your lower back in to extension, meanwhile your trying to stand up straight, basically all havoc is breaking loose and your back is taking the brunt because your spine is being pulled in more than one direction.

How do you help open/lengthen your hip flexors you say?

Well, there are a few key muscles that help balance your hips such as the Iliacus, Psoas Major, Tensor Fascia Latae and Rectus Femoris and not forgetting our Adductors. So here are my top 3 “go tos” to release these muscles for when your back starts giving you trouble and to bring balance back to your hips. Although none of these are directed at the back itself our hips play a major part in supporting our spine which is usually the main problem for back pain when an imbalance occurs:

1. Foam roll and use a lacrosse ball to smash your hips and glutes. Starting with a foam roller start to roll your IT band (outer leg) from just above the knee right up to the hip, 5-8 slow passovers will be enough. Then rotate over on to your quads and the front of your hips. Position yourself on top of a box to roll the hamstrings and the inner thigh (very important you hit the adductors as these can be overlooked). Lastly, use the lacrosse ball to smash the glutes.

2. Next, you’ll need to stretch out the muscles.
First one will be a pigeon stretch on each side to lengthen the glutes. Second, we’ll go for the adductors with a seated straddle and lastly, a saddle stretch to open the hips and get a nice stretch along the upper thighs. Hold each stretch for 2 mins.

3. It’s always good to then reactivate the muscles surrounding your hips so they operate correctly.
The first movement would just be some glute bridges. Lie on your back with your heels close to you bum and them drive through your heels pushing your hips to the ceiling, making sure to keep your abs engaged and then return to the floor. Secondly would be some supine clams. In the same position as the glute bridge, place a band around your knees like a halo and drive your knees out into the band and hold for 2 seconds then return to the beginning position. Both of these movements will help bring balance to your hips and relieve tension in the lower back. Perform 2 sets of 20 reps of each movement.

Thanks for reading guys and I know from personal experience that it can be very difficult to train around and get rid of back pain quickly not to mention it is very frustrating but if you follow these 3 steps on a daily basis, you’ll be well on your way to getting rid of and fixing it (bar any catastrophic injuries such as impact etc). If you’re unsure where you fall on this scale or need some help in overcoming some niggles then email me at james@crossfitthames.com and we can chat about what to do!


A) Front Squat
Build to a heavy single !

B) 13min. AMRAP:
40 Calorie Row
50 Wall Balls 9/6kg
60 OH Walking Lunges with a 20/15kg Plate
70 Double unders


Classic CrossFit

EMOM x 3min.
3 Power Snatch
EMOM x 3min.
2 Power Snatch
EMOM x 3min.
1 Power Snatch
immediately into;
EMOM x 3min.
3 Power Cleans
EMOM x 3min.
2 Power Cleans
EMOM x 3min.
1 Power Clean

*Score is heaviest 1 rep snatch and 1 rep clean combined.

Make sure you are ready and warm for both movements. Start at about 50-60% and start to CLIMB! I am only looking for a heavy single today on the 1 reps, but if you are feeling good you can go for it! However, your goal is no failed lifts today.

B) 15min. AMRAP:
5 Shoulder To Overhead 60/35kg
10 Pull-Ups
15 Kettlebell Swings 24/16kgkg


In Teams of 2 – Get as far as possible in 15min.
For Time:

Double Unders
DB Power Cleans 22/16kg

At the 20min. Mark…

DB Thrusters 22/16kgThen!
AD Cals

3 Rounds
400m Run (200m Intervals)
30 American KB Swings 24/16kg
25 Push Ups


Classic CrossFit

A) Supersets
5 Rounds of:

Close Grip Bench Press (Superset)
6-8 reps (climbing)
6-8 reps (climbing)
3 second descent! No fast reps today.
2min. Row For Max Meters

The score will be combined weight bench and deadlift and your WORST Row distance
– Rest 2 Mins

B) Accessory Work
For Time:

100 Russian KB Swings 32/24kg
*Go unbroken for as long as possible.


Classic CrossFit

A) 4 Rounds
400m Run
20 Overhead Squat 60/40kg

Time Cap: 15 Minutes

– 4 Minutes Rest –

B) 3 rounds
400m Run
20 Hang Power Clean 60/40kg

Time Cap: 15 Minutes

– If you are doing the Open then today should be done at a slower pace. Either work on the mechanics of the movements above or add in some skill work with some different movements that you need to work on.


4 Rounds:
Min. 1)
12/9 Cal Row
Min. 2) Max DB Bench Press 20/10kg
Min. 3) 12/9 Cal Assault Bike
Min. 4) Max Russian KB Swings 32/24kg

Rest 4min.

4 Rounds:
Min. 1)
200m Run
Min. 2) Max Pull-Ups
Min. 3) 60 Double Unders
Min. 4) Max Push-Ups


Classic CrossFit

Crossfit Open 20.3!!!!!


Pending on CrossFit Open 20.3!