Advanced Stretches for the Lower Back

by Anton Reid, Demand Media
    A strong lower back helps your body maintain a full range of motion.

    A strong lower back helps your body maintain a full range of motion.

    Your lower back plays an important role during your everyday movement, from sitting upright at your desk to pushing the little ones on the swings at the park. When your lower-back muscles require strengthening, the simplest tasks can seem like a painful burden. Fortunately, there are exercises that target this extensive and complex group of muscles that support your spine, assist in maintaining your body’s upright position and allow your body’s trunk to bend, twist and move in many directions. So the next time your toddler asks you to join him in a somersault, you’ll be smiling and ready.

    Single-Leg Glute Stretch

    Step 1

    Lie on your back bringing one knee in toward your chest.

    Step 2

    Slowly angle your knee toward the opposite shoulder – right knee to left shoulder.

    Step 3

    Stabilize your leg by clasping both of your hands behind your knee and holding that position for 20 to 30 seconds before repeating the motion with the opposite knee.

    Cat Stretch

    Step 1

    Position yourself on your hands and knees with your hands outstretched in front of you, palms touching the floor and in alignment with your head.

    Step 2

    Slowly shift your weight back toward your heels while lowering your chest until you feel a stretch. Hold the position for five to 10 seconds, inhaling and exhaling slowly.

    Step 3

    Repeat 10 to 15 times with mild to moderate stretches as long as the motion remains pain free.

    Prayer Lunge

    Step 1

    Stand strait with your hands to your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart.

    Step 2

    Tighten your abdominal muscles while raising your elbows in alignment with your shoulders.

    Step 3

    Clench your fist and bend your arms, bringing your hands together in front of your chest.

    Step 4

    Place your left leg 1 to 2 feet behind and past your right leg and slowly bend your knees toward a squatting position.

    Step 5

    Balance your left leg on your toes, while shifting and maintaining most of your weight on your right leg, keeping your right foot flat on the floor, your back straight, your chest up and your knees above the floor.

    Step 6

    Repeat the stretch 10 to 15 times before repeating on your opposite side. This stretch works the entire body, so you may feel the stretch in different parts -- legs, calves, lower abs -- during your sessions, especially if certain parts of your body require more stretching than others.

    Tips

    • Keep your back straight throughout the exercises to gain the most benefit from the stretches.
    • Maintain regular breathing throughout the stretches to assist in maintaining adequate circulation.

    Warning

    • Avoid using swinging or jerking motions during stretches to avoid undue stress or exertion on your muscles and joints.

    About the Author

    Residing in Florida, Anton Reid began writing in 2005. He has written a range of health- and cultural-related articles for various organizations and companies, including A.Meem.Ra Institute, The Holistic Arts Center and “MAAT’s Pot." Reid is certified in homeopathic healing, licensed in herbal medicine and is a certified Reiki practitioner.

    Photo Credits

    • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images