My 5 Daily Spondylolisthesis Stretches/Movements – Part 1

My 5 daily spondylolisthesis stretches

A while back I ran across a great article by Bret Contreras titled “5 Things You Should Do Everyday” and it really got me thinking not only about the importance of these movements but also the importance of warming up.

Not just warming up for athletic events, but warming up and preparing for your day as a human being.

Whether you go to a desk job, go to school, play sports, or you are retired, warming up with various movements and stretches is something that a very small percentage of people do.

During my career as a strength and conditioning coach I worked at three different levels.

1. The Collegiate level, where I worked with college basketball, soccer, and volleyball athletes.

2. The Professional level, where I interned and worked on the strength and conditioning staff of an NBA team.

3. High School/Private, where I worked with youth, middle school and high school athletes along with everyday individuals.

At each level the strength and conditioning staff always implemented a dynamic warm up to help the athletes prepare for the workout ahead.

These dynamic warm ups were sometimes individualized and sometimes performed in group settings.

Whatever the situation the goal of the warm-ups were to accomplish a few things:
  • Prepare the body and mind for what’s ahead.
  • Increase blood flow.
  • Improve range of motion, mobility and overall movement.
  • Increase core temperature.
  • Reduce muscle stiffness/soreness.

We NEVER skipped warm-ups and I always have considered them an important if not mandatory part of training or working out.

After reading the article I got to thinking; as we get older and develop daily routines we no longer do any kind of warming up.

We roll out of bed and we head of to work, we come home and we sit some more. We then go to bed and we start the process all over again.

Now go back and look at the points highlighted above and what a  warm-up can help to accomplish and think about how each and everyone of those points can apply directly to you and your everyday life. No matter what you do or what stage in life you are in.

Unlike the active days we all had as children, in today’s current world  we do no climbing, no jumping, no running, no playing sports, no rotating, no picking things up, no reaching, no crawling, and no squatting.

Spondylolisthesis climbing

When is the last time you climbed a tree?

Compared to our youth days, we move considerably less.

And if you think about it we do the exact opposite.

We just sit. We sit for most of the day, everyday.

spondylolisthesis enemy

A large majority of us spend most of our day sitting.

We lose all of that quality movement we were born with and we allow certain muscles and tissues to become lazy, stressed, overused, and restricted. Instead of being out and exploring, using various muscles groups, strength, stability and mobility we give everything a break and just sit.

I truly believe that many of the nagging pains, discomfort, and conditions that we are faced with as we age can be closely related to this drastic decrease in movement.

So the question becomes, why doesn’t the general population warm up daily?

And trust me, I get the fact that as adults we work, we care for our kids, we provide for our families, and we have a ton less time when compared to our easy kid days, but do we really struggle to find 5-10 minutes a day to move?

  • Do we not have enough time?
  • Are we lazy?
  • Do we not know what to do?
  • Are we unaware of the benefits?
  • Do we think it is dumb?
  • Are we in too much pain to move?

Whatever your answer may be, I encourage you think about the previously mentioned points and develop an open mind about adding a simple daily warm up to your daily routine. No matter how simple it may be. 

You may be shocked what it does for you both physically and mentally.

The goal is to treat this warm-up like a daily habit.  Just like brushing your teeth, taking out the trash, or getting the mail.

I started doing this a few weeks ago and have continued on a daily basis.  And I have to admit I actually look forward to it now and I think it can be very beneficial to those who not only suffer from spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis but for everyday individuals as well.

Now keep in mind that in a perfect world you would get a movement screen and determine what your PERSONAL weaknesses are and work with a rehab specialist to help you develop a few warm up movements designed specifically for you.

But I understand that not everyone will have this option.

If you fall into this category you will want to check out the warm-up I have developed for my personal weaknesses to give you an idea of just how easy it can be.

I designed my 5 warm-up stretches around some of my weaknesses along with a few stretches that combat positions that I am in throughout the day (I have to admit I stole a few of Bret’s ideas because the stretches he demonstrated are awesome and I also added a few of my own, I encourage you to read his original article on this topic here).

Keep in mind that you may not be able to perform some of these stretches/movements for various reasons (your specific movement issues, your injury history, your background, etc.)and we always recommend talking to your physician before starting any new stretches or exercises.

Also, please read our disclaimer before beginning any activities.

Instead of making this an epic 10,000 word post I am going to divide this into a series comprised of 6 parts. This will allow me to elaborate more on why I chose the stretches I did and what each stretch is aimed at accomplishing.

I am also going to add pictures and plenty of descriptions. That way those of you who are cleared to attempt these movements at home can easily follow along.

With each stretch/movement that I do I am going to explain to you three things…

1. Why I do it.

2. How I do it.

3. A regression or easier version (if necessary) for those that may struggle with the movement.

Again, this will really help you to understand the why’s and how’s of each movement and their importance.

Along with the description I also wanted to make this as easy for the readers to follow and implement into their own lives as possible.

Making this easy for everyone required me to answer two simple questions:

1. At what time could I do this DAILY and be un-interrupted?  I wanted to be focused, with a clear mind to not only achieve physical benefits, but mental benefits as well.

2. How long could the average individual spend daily to do this? I didn’t want to spend an hour warming-up daily because quite frankly, that would be really boring!

For question #1 I had two options.

I could do it first thing in the morning before my wife and kid woke up. Or I could do it in the evening before I went to bed.

The answer for me was simple….Morning.

I get up before everyone else anyway and do an hour or so of returning emails, writing for the blog, and reading blogs.  Plus I liked the idea of having a “warm-up” for the day. I always feel the need to move around after computer work and I almost always feel stiff after sitting first thing in the morning.

The amount of time was easy. Under 10 minutes.

I figured if someone cannot spare 10 minutes out of the day, they really need to consider a new schedule or read some time management books. We are talking less than 1% of your total time during the day.

I encourage you to think about what time of the day would allow you to be consistent, focused and ready to move for just 10 minutes. Consistency is the key, so aim for a time of the day you can always count on being available.

Now that you know all about this daily warm-up I hope you are excited to learn some great stretches and movements!

Make sure you check out Part Two of this series as we will take a look at the first of five stretches I have been performing on a daily basis over the last few weeks.

Until then, please take a brief second and let me know below why you do not perform a daily warm-up. Chime in on the comment section below and discuss what keeps you from moving.

  • Is it time?
  • Are you lazy?
  • Do you not know what to do?
  • Were you unaware of the benefits?
  • Do you think it is dumb?
  • Are you in too much pain to move?

Be honest and let’s work together to get you moving and feeling better!

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Leave A Reply (15 comments so far)

  1. Jacque
    4 years ago

    I’ve never done a morning warm up because it never occurred to me.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Jacque

      I think this will be a common them among many. The simple fact that they are unaware of the many benefits that just a few minutes a day could provide. Moving in the morning can provide a challenge due to being so stiff. I find the best time is after a nice hot shower. The core temperature is elevated from the warm water and the body seems to move better. Best of luck and thanks for commenting!

  2. Faizah
    4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. Your blog is the best. It is the only one I’ve ever read that is totally straightforward and written with an empathetic understanding of Spondys. I prefer to do stretches in the mornings by stretching my calves before rising. The stretches feel good but when I attempt to get out of bed and sit on the side, the pain is the worst–pain shoots down my legs disallowing me to stand. Gradually standing upright and making several excruciating steps around the bedroom while holding onto the furniture or using a walker does help until I can stand up fully. Lying in a supine position overnight or for several hours seems to aggravate my slippage condition more. Has anyone shared a similar problem. Do you know of a stretch that would help upon rising.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Faizah,

      You bring up a great question and this is something I am very familiar with. During the height of my spondy battle and pain I too had horrible pains upon waking up in the morning. Sometimes needing help out of bed to even move around. I often times had to put my hands on the wall, furniture or other objects to support my weight. As far as stretches go that can help this I really do not know of any because I believe the issue has more to do with stability than it does flexibility. But again, I am not 100% for sure. I am going to reach out to a few Physical Therapist and professionals in my field and ask around. I will also do a little research myself and see if I can find a better answer for you on this question. Thanks for commenting and check beck for a better answer in the near future.

  3. salo
    4 years ago

    Thank you again for your website. It’s great.
    I found that stretching and doing some warm up when I wake up, really helps comYoubat stiffness and helps me move better.
    My therapist recommended me hamstrings stretchers, some core work like ded bugs, and toes and feet mobility stretchers as well.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Salo,

      Thanks for the comment! I am in the same boat as you. The stretching really helps to improve my weaknesses along with prepare me mentally as well. Make sure to check out Parts 2-6 as well. I discuss various movements and stretches you might find helpful. Thanks!

  4. emma
    4 years ago

    It’s often occurred to me that we humans are doing something unnatural by NOT stretching – especially after we get up in the morning, or every time we get up from sitting. Just watch your dog or cat! They have a massive stretch, usually in two positions, every time they wake up!

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Very good points Emma. The lack of stretching or movement in combination with the increase in sedentary lifestyles may be leading to many health related issues in humans. But your point about animals, especially cats, is dead on. They seem to always grab a quick stretch before moving along.

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