We wrap up our healthy back series with four new moves to add to your workout routine.
This post comes from our friend and Australian fitness instructor, Tanya Poppett.
Back pain is quite a common ailment. It’s really no surprise given our general lifestyle –hunching over portable devices, driving, and lifting heavy objects. There are a number of different anatomical factors that can cause back pain. Both of these routines will target those most common ailments.
A lot of back issues also stem from tight muscles and neural tension built up in the spine. The second part of this series aims to release common trigger points for the back and improve overall mobility. Be sure you work in a pain-free range when performing any of these stretches or exercises. You will feel a gentle pulling stretch but you should not experience any pain.
Hip Flexor Reaches. This is a great move for loosening up tightness in the hip flexors or hips, which can often contribute to sciatica and lower back pain.
Begin in a kneeling position and slowly step one foot forward so that your knee is in line with your ankle. Instead of leaning forward to get the stretch, try pulling the hips up towards the lower ribs to brace your core and imagine your back knee and front heel are pulling toward each other. Gently reach one arm over your head, bring it back to the centre and repeat on the other side. Once you have performed 10 reaches on each side, switch legs.
Cat Cow Cat Cow. This is an excellent exercise as it works with your breath and the movement of your body. The Cat Cow Cat Cow warms up your spine, strengthen your core and stretch out surrounding muscle groups, including the neck and shoulders.
Begin in a tabletop position (shoulders stacked over wrist, hips stacked over knees). Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest. Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose. Push up through the palm of your hands and tuck your core to get the most out of Cat pose. Make sure you keep your neck and shoulders relaxed away from your ears when performing your Cow.
Rotating Figure 4’s. This movement will help loosen tight glutes and relieve any tension in the lower spine.
Start in a seated position with your knees bent up. Bring one leg up and cross your ankle over your other bent knee. Relax your shoulders and lift your chest until you feel a good stretch in the side of your glute. Gently lower the bent knee down the side until it reaches the ground or as far as you can tolerate. Once you have performed 5, switch legs and complete on the other side.
Child’s Pose. I am certain that this is everybody’s favourite yoga pose because it feels amazing and really helps relieve any tension after a stressful day in the office.
Begin on your hands and knees. Spread your knees wide apart while keeping your big toes touching. Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head. On an exhalation, bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs. Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down. Push your elbow into the mat to get a good stretch in the shoulders.
+For more back strengthening exercises click here…
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