After I sprint (usually 100m) for about an hour with breaks, I tend to feel tightness in my mid-to-lower back around the spinal cord. I am wondering if this is a symptom of a weakness (if so, how do I go about self-diagnosing?) and how I can strengthen that area in particular with regard to sprinting?

I'm in good health otherwise, fairly strong and not overweight.

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  • How much core work do you normally do? Lower back tightness can also be an indication that the lower back is doing more work to support weak abs/obliques. And what kind of workouts are you doing, that you do 100m sprints for an hour? – JohnP Jun 11 at 14:30

Though I'm not a sprinter, on long runs around an hour (especially on flat, straight roads) I often find that my low back is also tight. Assuming you are doing your sprints on a track or other flat, even surface, the cause may be the same.

Similar to how your back or legs may ache after sitting in the same position in a car/bus/plane for a long time, while running on a flat surface your back is being held in a fairly constant position -- with the added stress that many of the muscles may be contracted.

To alleviate this, I find it helpful to pause every 15 to 20 minutes (or when waiting to cross the road) and do two simple exercises:

  • Squat down all the way to the ground so that my knees and hips go through a full range of motion
  • Standing up straight, bend forward at the waist as far as I can, adding a slight knee bend as necessary for my low back to go through a full range of motion

I'll do each of these, slowly, once or twice. I find that this releases some tension and keeps me from feeling so sore at the end of the run.

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