The prone position -- lying on the ground with your chest down and your back up -- is a safe setting to perform several back-strengthening and stretching exercises. Some of these exercises include back extensions, hamstring curls, the plank and trunk raises. Prone exercises are an effective way to improve your lower-back health; however, over an extended period of time, lying in the prone position may cause discomfort to your neck and knees. It is fairly simple to get in a prone position for exercise, but precautions must be taken getting there and holding the position, as injury can still occur.
You can also lie prone on a flat exercise bench in the same way as discussed here.
If you experience any back pain, stop the exercise immediately and consult a doctor.
Lay an exercise mat in front of you. Make sure you lay it on an evenly surfaced ground. An exercise mat is firm -- laying on a soft surface could arch your back and cause discomfort or injury.
Kneel on the exercise mat and use your hands to lower yourself face-first onto the ground until you are lying on your stomach. Alternatively, sit on the mat, lie on your back and roll into the prone position.
Find the correct hand position for the exercise you are performing. The position of your hands depends on what muscles you want to stretch or exercise. Some hand positions include placing your arms folded under your chin, keeping your arms tucked at your sides and putting your hands together on your lower back. For example, if you want to perform back extensions, you will need to put your hands together on your lower back, with your palms facing up.
Keep your legs extended on the ground. You may put a towel or pillow under your ankles for comfort. It also helps alleviate knee pressure and prevent lower back strain.
- You can also lie prone on a flat exercise bench in the same way as discussed here.
- If you experience any back pain, stop the exercise immediately and consult a doctor.
Jason Eaton has been a writer since 2010, and has contributed to several magazines and clinical journals. He has worked as a pediatric dietitian and clinical researcher in the United Kingdom. Eaton holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics, as well as a Master of Science in human nutrition.