How to decrease or eliminate lower back pain with exercise.

Lower back pain seems to be a common denominator in today’s “modern” world. My wife has it, my brother-in-law has it, and countless of my co-workers who have been in naval aviation have it. I bet either you know at least three people with lower back pain or you are suffering from lower back pain yourself.

At some point the pain is accepted as a “normal” though undesired part of your life. Like some old friend that comes over to your house and mooches all your food and annoys everyone by directing all the conversation toward his or her problems, lower back pain comes into people’s lives and mooches their energy and directs their precious attention to the pain in their bodies.

By sheer luck and coincidence I stumbled upon a quick and easy workout protocol that seems to do wonders for lower back pain. At least everyone I have shared this with told me that their lower back pain either completely went away or that the pain was greatly diminished and with an increase in range of motion.

The key to this whole thing is to do it with LIGHT KETTLEBELLS. (Check your ego at the door)

First let’s go over the warmup.

1. Do some joint mobility, if you are short on time just do the spine, if you have more time go ahead and knock out the whole body.
2. Perform some cross crawls to train your vestibular system. The two I favor are 1) standing march for 36 times and 2) bear crawls 3 sets of 10 steps forwards and 10 steps backward.
3. With a light kettlebell do the following three times:
a. Swing and catch 3x and put on floor
b. Swing, catch, and squat 3 x and put on floor
c. Swing, catch, squat, and press x 3 and put on floor

Here is a video explaining the warmup:

Now let’s move on to the workout.

Again with two LIGHT KETTLEBELLS do the following:

1. Double KB Clean and Press 5 x 3
2. Double KB Squat 5 x 3
3. Double KB Snatch 5 x 3

Because these exercises are done with light kettlebells even people with no kettlebell experience can follow along safely and get benefits. This is how I was able to teach it to some family members with no kettlebell experience on a cruise yet they got the results I am talking about: they used 8 lb and 15 lb kettlebells while I used two 35lb kettlebells.

If you wanted to get an awesome strength workout, then you can do the same thing with HEAVY KETTLEBELLS as this is basically a powerlifting protocol.

Here is a video explaining the workout:

I personally incorporate this into my training regimen with two 35lb kettlebell whenever I do a deload week or when I need to taper off a little.

Every time I do it I feel GREAT! My whole spine feels like it got massaged and my posture is improved. This is part of my focus on movement and exercise as therapy. Remember, you can train to master a specific skill, to get stronger, to lose weight, etc., but I really like the concept of training as therapy for your whole body. Instead of “breaking down” the body you are constantly tuning and improving it. Of course I also LOVE my crazy strength and conditioning workouts!

My wife always tells that because her lower back pain goes away, that this is the TYPE of kettlebell training her body needs. My wife doesn’t say these things after every workout and I know there are couple she would not like to repeat! (She also tells me when she thinks something is NOT for her.)

If you are a trainer, try it with a client or friend that has lower back pain and see the results you get. I have a feeling you will be pleasantly surprised. 😉

With this movement as therapy mindset I have also modified the burpee so that people actually enjoy and then LOVE to do it while elongating their spine, training their breath control, increasing flexibiliy and eliminating lower back pain. In fact, my wife did 75 burpees (a PR for her) with me using this protocol, got rid of her lower back pain for that day, and totally loved them, but that’s another article.

All my best,
Eric Guttmann

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