How to Hang to Stretch Out the Back Vertebrae

Hanging allows your body weight to do most of the work.

Hanging allows your body weight to do most of the work.

Spending your days pounding out brilliant truths, witty asides and perfect quarterly reports seemed like your dream job when you imagined taking over the world in your designer stilettos. But the realities of hunching over a keyboard, playing office politics and wearing high heels can leave you feeling more frog then princess. Fortunately, this is one time when hanging around is the healthiest answer.

Warm up your back by doing a light aerobic exercise such as walking on a treadmill for a few moments. If your back's not actually hurting you can do jumping jacks, jump rope or even hula hoop for five to ten minutes. This raises your core body temperature and increases blood flow to your muscles, loosening them up and making it easier to stretch out the tension.

Hang from a chinup bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing forward. You don't have to do actual pull-ups, so don't stress if your arm muscles are still under construction. Use a little chalk on your hands to keep them from slipping, if you like.

Relax your legs. Don't pick them up off the floor because this can put stress on your lower back. Just let them go jelly loose so that your shoulders, torso and lower back can feel the pull of gravity working to un-knot the tense spots. Start by hanging for five seconds every day and work up to hanging for at least 15 seconds several times a day.

Items you will need

  • Chinup bar
  • Chalk, optional


  • Hang by one arm at a time to get an extra stretch in each shoulder as soon as it's comfortable to hang by both arms for at least 15 seconds.


  • Don't hang upside down to stretch your back, because the blood rushing to your head can be uncomfortable.

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About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.

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