Stretches For A Flexible Back
Flexibility in your back is important for many sports, including gymnastics. Increasing your flexibility can only be accomplished over time and can be a very difficult or very easy task depending on your body type. All of these stretches have many names and are found in many disciplines, and they will all help increase your flexibility. I quickly run through all these stretches and boy do they feel good on the back.
1. Pike Stretch - Sit on the floor with legs straight in front of you. Lean forward and try to touch your toes. This stretches both the hamstrings, leg muscles, and the lower back. To make this more difficult, keep your back completely straight as you lean over.
2. Standing Pike Stretch -While standing erect, bend forward at the waist and reach towards the ground. Bend forward far enough to feel a comfortable stretch in the back and legs.
3. Camel Pose - While standing or kneeling with your feet (or knees) shoulder width apart push your hips forward and lean back until you feel a stretch. This can be done with or without supporting yourself with your hands.
4. Cat Stretch - Kneel with your arms on the floor in front of you shoulder width apart. Push your spine to the ceiling and hold, then push your spine down and lift your head.
5. Advanced Cat Stretch - Do an advanced cat stretch. Start as with the cat stretch, but slowly slide your arms forward on the mat while arching your back until you get your shoulders to touch the ground.
6. Seal Stretch - Lie on your stomach with your elbows bent and hands by your sides. Slowly straighten your arms and tilt your head back.
7. Basket Stretch - While on your stomach, bend your knees and reach behind you to grab your ankles. Lift up up with your arms and feet.
Don’t force your back to bend too far; it could cause major damage. Start off with small back stretches and work your way up. Stay safe!
It’s important to remember to begin stretching slowly to ensure your muscles don’t become too sore.
Make a goal for how flexible you want to become. When you achieve your goal, celebrate and set a new one.
Don’t push it. Your back isn’t going to become flexible over night.
Do exercises to strengthen and stretch your stomach muscles. Your back and stomach work together, so what you do for one will effect the other.
Not everyone has a very flexible back, practice frequently for 15 or 30 minute sessions.
Decide what stretches are best for you and how often you will do them. If you always do the same stretches every day it will get boring, change it up a bit and you will be more likely to continue.