Do you know that? Again your back hurts. Once again you are not sure what will help you.
Might it be the hollow back?
Then think for a moment: How much do you sit throughout the day?
Because lack of exercise and too much sitting causes a muscular imbalance that leads to a hollow back. One of the most common reasons for problems in the lower back.
If you want to correct a hollow back, you’ve come to the right spot.
Because in this article you’ ll learn:
- How a hollow back is created
- How to recognize a hollow back
- The best exercises to correct a hollow back
A hollow back results from muscular imbalances
In the case of a hollow back, we must always look at the position of the pelvis. Because you can imagine the pelvis as the base of the spine.
If the foundation gets out of balance, all structures above it get out of balance.
In the case of the pelvis, this can happen in two ways:
The pelvis is tilted forward – this is called an Anterior Pelvic Tilt,
The pelvis is tilted backward – this is called a Posterior Pelvic Tilt.
In this post, we focus on the Anterior Pelvic Tilt. It is the most common cause of a hollow back.
If we look at the natural shape of the spine, it is noticeable that the spine has a natural curvature in different areas.
In the thoracic spine, the curvature is concave. This is called kyphosis. In the lumbar spine, the curvature is convex. This is called lordosis.
With a hollow back, an excessive curvature occurs in the lumbar spine. This is called hyperlordosis.
This excessive curvature is caused by a forward-tilted pelvis – the Anterior Pelvic Tilt.
Since the Anterior Pelvic Tilt and Hyperlorosis are associated with characteristic muscular imbalances, this is also referred to as Lower Cross Syndrome.
The lower back and hip flexors pull too hard on the pelvis, causing it to tilt forward.
At the same time, the gluteal and abdominal muscles are too weak to balance the tension.
As the pelvis tilts forward, the spine in the lumbar region must bend more forward to maintain the upright position of the body.
Due to the strong curvature, the muscles have to work harder, can tense and hurt.
How can a hollow back be identified?
Hyperlordosis may not always be distinctive enough to be recognized immediately. But there are some points where it is recognizable. Do any of them apply to you?
1. back pain when standing for a long time.
After standing for a long time, does your lower back start to hurt? Then this indicates an Anterior Pelvic Tilt.
2. you are skinny, but still have a little belly.
The curvature of the lumbar spine pushes the abdominal organs towards the abdominal wall. This gives the impression of a little belly, although you are not overweight.
3. back pain subsides when you move.
In movement, the muscles are better supplied with blood and relax a little. The pain eases.
4. your bottom is pushed out to the rear.
Is that the case with you? Find out with the following test:
Stand with your back against the wall (contact points are feet, bottom, upper back and head). If more than one palm fits between the wall and the lumbar spine, this indicates a lower-cross syndrome.
What’s the reason for the lower-cross syndrome?
The main cause of a hollow back is our sedentary lifestyle. We sit at school, at work, eating, at university, in the car, on the bike, and often even during training.
This is not something that can be passed on to our bodies without a mark over the years. The human body is not designed for permanent sitting. It is made for movement.
While sitting, the body forgets to tense the gluteal muscles. But these are important for stretching the hips and keeping the pelvis in a neutral position.
If the gluteal muscles cannot stabilize the pelvis, it tilts forward and a hollow back develops.
The structures above compensate for a hollow back with a hunchback, the head is pushed forward, the weight is shifted from the feet to the toes, and problems arise in the ankles and knees, etc.
Sitting too much causes many problems. Fact is: A lot of sitting is dysfunctional. The problem is that the body does not know when it is doing something harmful. It simply adapts to the corresponding stimuli. Therefore it’ s a good idea to change the stimuli to solve the problem permanently.
Exercises to correct your hollow back
So far, we know what the muscular causes for a hollow back are and how the dysbalance of the Lower Cross Syndrome develops.
In order to be able to correct a hollow back, we have to strengthen and stretch the corresponding muscles:
- Strengthen abdominal muscles
- Strengthen gluteal muscles
- Stretch hip flexor
- stretch lower back
Exercise 1: The Child Pose
It is perfect for removing tension from the back extensor muscles.
- To do this, place yourself in the heel seat and bend forward from the hip.
- Place your upper body on your thighs.
- Place your arms in front of or next to your body.
- Relax your back in this position for two minutes. Breathe in and out relaxed.
Exercise 2: Static Back Press
- Lie with your back on the ground for this exercise.
- The legs are elevated on a chair.
- The hips and knees are each at a 90° angle.
- In this position, place your hands on your stomach.
- Now breathe deeply and relaxed into and out of your stomach.
You can spend 10 to 15 minutes in this position. This unfolds the full potential of the exercise.
Exercise 3: The Hip Bridge
The problem is that many of us have “forgotten” to use the gluteal muscles. Due to the large amount of sitting, the body can no longer control the bottom neuronally.
This is why we use an exercise to correct the hollow back, which specifically addresses the gluteal muscles.
The hip bridge is a simple exercise to re-learn the neuronal control of the bottom.
- Lay with your back on the floor.
- Place your feet so that your knees are exactly above your feet.
- Now tighten your bottom and press your hips upwards.
- Keep this position short and then relax again.
- Repeat it 5 to 20 times.
Exercise 4: The Couch Stretch
- Go in front of a wall. Put one leg in front of you like a lunge.
- The leg at the rear is placed against the wall.
- Make sure that the complete instep from the toes to the knee is against the wall.
- Place a pillow under the knee to make the exercise more comfortable.
- In this position, gently slide the pelvis forward.
- Hold this position for 60 seconds.
Studies show: The nerve cells in the muscles only give the signal after 45 seconds that the muscle can relax. Only then does tension ease. Perform this exercise twice per leg.
Exercise 5: The Plank
Abdominal muscles not only look sexy on the beach in summer, they also take on a very important task: they stabilize the spine.
Many athletes now know that sit-ups are not the best exercise to strengthen abdominal muscles. Besides, these exercises to correct the hollow back are extremely unsuitable.
Why is that so? With sit-ups, there is flexion in the hip. This is initiated by the hip flexor. This means that sit-ups train the hip flexor rather than the abdominal muscles.
Since these are already overactive due to a lot of sitting, we want to avoid this.
A more suitable exercise to correct the hollow back, on the other hand, is the plank. This exercise trains the deep supporting muscles that stabilize the spine.
- The elbows are just below the shoulder joints.
- Keep your body straight from head to heels.
- Tighten your buttocks and abdominal muscles.
Start by holding this position three times for 30 seconds. Increase to 60 or even 120 seconds over time.
By the way, the official Guinness world record in planks is 8 hours and one minute.
Fixing the hollow back in your everyday life
Sometimes it takes a while for the exercises to take effect.
Also, we can train in everyday life by following two steps:
- tighten the gluteal muscles while standing: This aligns the pelvis in its neutral position.
- tighten the abdominal muscles: If the pelvis is in its neutral position, try to keep it in position with the help of your abdominal muscles.
This will initially require some practice and awareness. Over time it will become natural for you to align your pelvis while standing and hold it in position.