Back Stretching

The following stretching and mobility exercises are often used as part of treatment and rehabilitation programs for back problems and injuries. They are also important to include in general training programs to help prevent injury and even improve sports performance.

If you have back pain or any kind of back injury then it is important to get professional advice as some back exercises may not be suitable.

Lower Lumbar Rotation (play video)

This exercise aims to increase the flexibility of the lower lumbar muscles. The weight of the leg provides the stretch but it can be increased by using the hand.

Lay flat on the back with both legs out straight. Bring one knee up towards the chest.

Then take it across the body, trying to get the inner knee to touch the floor on the other side of the body.

The hand can be used to increase the rotation if necessary.


Lower Back Stretch

Stretching the muscles of the lower back can provide a great deal of relief to back pain sufferers. This lower back stretch targets the erector spine.

Lay on the floor on your back. Bring your knees up to your chest and use your arms to pull them in further.

Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Variations

  • Perform one leg at a time.
  • Add internal rotation to further stretch gluteus medius.

Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

The lats are regularly left out of stretching routines, however, all it takes is a simple stretch like this or kneeling on the floor.

Stand upright with your arms above your head. Reach up as high as possible.

Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.


Cat Stretch

Cat stretch. These types of stretching exercises are similar to those used in yoga. This stretch targets the multifidus and erector spinae.

On all fours on the floor, arch your back up as high as possible.  

Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds then relax. This can also be done with the back slump stretch. 


Rotation Stretch

Rotation mobility exercise for the lower back. This stretch targets the multifidus, internal and external obliques.

Stand upright with your arms folded across your chest. Rotate your shoulders around to one side.

Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.


Side Stretch

The classic side stretch for all the muscles on the side of the body, from arm down to the hip.

Muscles stretched are the quadratus lumborum, internal and external obliques.

Stand up and reach above the head with one arm. Lean over to the opposite side.

Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds. Change sides.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.