I use the lower back stretching exercises below as part of my general flexibility routine. Sitting in an office all day long (I probably spend 6 to 8 hours a day in a chair behind a computer), as you can probably well imagine, isn’t so good for my back.
So I like to do these as part of my generally daily routine and after my training sessions.
Cat Cow Stretch
This is one of my favourite exercises, especially first thing in the morning. It just wakes up all the muscles in my back and makes me feel great. And it’s probably one of the easiest back stretches to do.
In a hands and knees position on a flat floor, gentle raise your head up whilst dropping your belly towards the floor and arching your back. Keep your core muscles switched on though. Don’t just let your belly swing low!
Hold for a few seconds then reverse this position by slowly dropping you head down and arching your back up towards the sky. Again, hold this stretch for a few seconds, then repeat this entire sequence maybe 5 to 10 times.
Never force these movements as you can cause yourself an injury. Just keep in a comfortable range. Some people like to incorporate a good breathing technique into this stretch cycle. This is a classic yoga stretch, and is great for relieving stress and tension also.
Lying Down Side Twist
This is another great stretch for the lower back.
Starting off lying flat on your back, bring your right knee up to your chest. Make sure your lumbar region is flat on the floor and your core muscles are turned on pulling your stomach in.
Twist your hips to your left side so that your right knee touches the floor to your left side (or almost touches it, depending on how supple you are).
Keep your upper back flat on the floor and extend your arms out to the side. Turn your head so you are looking in the opposite direction to where your knees are pointing.
Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly bring you knee back towards your chest so your are lying flat on your back again.
Then switch legs.
Again, and as with any stretch, don’t force it! If you can’t yet touch the floor with you knee as you twist, you soon will be able to! With stretching, there is no such thing as no pain no gain.
Instructional Videos for Lower Back Stretching Exercises
Even if you know how to do these stretching exercises it’s still worth having a watch of the two short videos below if you have a spare few minutes. They give you very clear instructions on how to perform them, and they give you some good pointers to get the most out of it.
In the Cat Cow video the instructor continues on to do an additional exercise. It isn’t part of the Cat Cow stretch, but she obviously knows what she is doing. So give them a go if you like.
For further stretching and flexibility exercises browse through the list of stretching exercises and articles and see what works for you.