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Low Back Hinging. What is it?

What is it? And why is it important that Dancers, Gymnasts and Cheerleaders avoid it???

Lower back pain is a fairly common complaint we see from the dancer and gymnast population. There are many skills within these sports that require large amounts of lumbar spine extension (lower back arching). Bridges, walkovers and handsprings are just a handful of these skills – and these are often performed repeated times throughout a training session.

Lumbar hinging is a common cause of lower back pain in dancers and can be seen in the picture below. This is where a lot of the arching movement is coming from one portion of the spine instead of it all working together to achieve the movement. Due to overworking, this segment of the spine can become quite painful if left untreated – especially under the load of repeated acrobatics and tumbling

Back hinging

How do you fix lumbar spine hinging?

Hinging can lead to localised pain in your low back, referred pain down your legs and eventually stress fractures in the spine (if left untreated). It is caused by:

  • Incorrect technique
  • Lack of abdominal strength
  • Lack of spinal stability

If this sounds like something you do, try this exercise! Stand with your back facing the wall and your arms on your ears. Arch your hands back towards the wall but make sure you visualise your whole spine working together with your shoulders and your hips. Get your coach or a friend to watch you from the side and they should be able to see a nice even “C-shape”. If completed properly, this exercise should not cause you any pain.

Lumbar Extension correct alignment

How Can Physionorth help?

If you are feeling pain in the lower back with arching movements, it is best to seek advice from your physiotherapist straight away. If left untreated, the pain can become much more serious and we want to avoid taking long periods off skill training so you can continue being the best you can be! At Physionorth we will have a look at your technique and assess your flexibiltiy and strength. We will then base your treatment and exercises on your indivudal results, meaning more effective treatment and a quicker pathway to recovery!

If you’d like to book an appointment to see our dance Physio’s Nicole, Jaquie or Mel click here to book online! 


All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances.

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