Get Serious About Stretching
“When a muscle is tight, it’s usually shortened and lacking blood,” says Vivian Eisenstadt, a physical therapist and personal trainer. “Stretching opens up the muscle to allow warm blood to the area and make a dry, tight muscle warm and roomy.” Eisenstadt’s favorite for loosening up the low back is the doorway side stretch, which targets the quadratus lumborum, a muscle that connects the pelvis to the spine and often contributes to low-back pain.
While you're at it, spend some time on the iliopsoas muscle, commonly known as your hip flexor. “It’s a deep abdominal muscle that starts in the low back and crosses into the front of the pelvis,” says Dr. Kevin Morford, a chiropractic physician. “When it’s overworked, too tight, or weak, it creates general low-back soreness and stiffness.” Morford points to the kneeling hip flexor stretch as an accessible option for most people.