Flexibility for a dancer is just as important as strength. It helps to avoid injuries, to move with more amplitude, and to feel your body and its possibilities better. But in addition to the cherished splits, the concept of flexibility also means developed and soft back muscles. Most back stretching exercises are not easy. But if you do it regularly and effectively, you will be incredibly satisfied and surprised at the result! The flexible back gives ease of movement, relieves pain, and helps in everyday life.
Well, after we tried to convince you of the usefulness of exercises for back stretching, let’s start directly to the training.
Always follow these rules to ensure that the result does not take too long:
- Exercise daily.
- Before stretching, do an intense workout.
- Perform all stretching exercises smoothly, relax your muscles as much as possible.
- Exercise in comfortable clothes.
- Start stretching with a small amplitude so that there are no injuries.
- Watch your breathing: breath evenly and deeply.
Warm-up before stretching
When you stretch after a workout, the muscles are already warmed up and additional warm-up is not required. If you decide to arrange a separate stretching lesson, first do some exercises:
- Join-warming: twist joints, tilt, and swivel the body.
- 5-7 minutes cardio: jogging or exercise Jumping Jacks, “Rock-climbing”, running on the spot with a high rise of knees, jumping over the rope.
After you warm up a little, you can start stretching.
1. Sphinx posture
It is a basic and one of the most popular asanas in yoga, it is also called Ardha Bhujangasana.
Technique. It’s done by lying on your stomach. Extend your arms in front of you parallel to each other. Shoulders down and open neck. First, place your head on the floor and relax your back, buttocks, and legs.
With a breath tighten your abs, raise your torso and pull your arms up, bending at the elbows. Find a comfortable position in which the lumbar spine will feel comfortable. The abdomen should be pressed tightly to the floor and the chest should be torn from the mat to the limit of the lower ribs. The top of your head reaches up.
Your main task is to divert tension into the area of the shoulder blades and at the same time relax the lower back and relax the neck. Pull the shoulders down from the neck, pushing your hands off the floor. Feel the tension in the middle part of the back, focus on the inner sensations.
2. Cobra position
This and previous postures effectively develop flexibility and eliminate pain in the lower back. The cobra is a more advanced version of the sphinx posture. The technique is almost the same as in the previous exercise, but you need to put your palms, not your elbows, on the floor, and then straighten your elbows by raising the body up.
If you need to complicate the exercise, remaining in the position of the cobra, bend your knees, and at the same time bend in the back, moving your head back. Pull the toes to the back of the head, deflecting the back as much as possible.
This exercise is not only for flexibility but also for the strength of back muscles. You need to lie down on your stomach and then raise your arms and legs simultaneously. In this position are at least 10 accounts, slowly lower your legs and arms to the floor. After rest, you can repeat one more cycle. Do not throw your head, look directly in front of you, focusing on the muscles and breathing. With this exercise, you will strengthen your back muscles!
4. Forward Bend
Sit on the floor. Align your knees in front of you. Lean forward gradually until you put your face on your knees and touch your toes with your hands.
The same can be done with wide-leg positions. Sitting on the floor, spread your legs wide, lean forward, and you can also try tilting the sides in turn to each leg.
5. Kneeling tilts
Kneel down so that you have a right angle between your tibia and thighs. Then gently stretch back without any sudden movements or jerks. If you have difficulty, first try to guide your hands through the bottom by touching the heels. As the exercise becomes more difficult, try to bend, leading your hands through the top, which is without support.
6. Bow position
Lie on your abdomen, resting on your palms or forearms. Keep your hands behind your back and bend your knees at the same time. The heels should point upwards. Wrap your arms around your ankles and bend as much as possible in your back without throwing your head back. Pull the legs towards the back of the head with your socks so that the result is a pose that looks like a stretched bow.
If you want to complicate this exercise for yourself, gradually align your knees, still holding your lower legs with your hands. So you will drag your back by legs. Ideally, align your knees completely. But this is for the most advanced.
7. Gymnastic bridge
Of course, almost the main back stretching exercise is the bridge. It is excellent for both beginners and advanced, and also helps to relax the shoulder muscles.
Lie on your back and place your palms on both sides of your head, turning them inside out. Bend your legs and raise your pelvis up, straightening your arms. Try to stretch your legs at the knees, and hands at the elbows so that the arch in the back resembles a real semicircular bridge. Standing in the bridge position, try to carry your weight on your hands, slightly leveling your legs in your knees.
Complication: exit to the bridge from standing position. To learn this, try near the wall first. Stand close to the wall, lean back, and find the wall with your hands. “Walk” the wall with your hands downwards until you reach the floor. In the same way, return to the standing position. When you feel that you have enough strength to do the exercise without help, try to move away from the wall carefully.
Another option for complications is the elbow bridge posture. But this option is for those who already have well developed and stretched back muscles.
8. Exercise Plow
Exercise is performed while lying on your back, arms and legs are extended along the body. Slowly raise your legs up, perpendicular to the floor. When the legs are upright, pull the toes towards you. Then slowly lower your legs behind your head, and grab your toes with your fingers. Keep your knees level. In this position, you need to stay at least for a minute. Then you can return to the starting position, avoiding sudden movements, and take a few deep breaths.
The exercise has a complicated continuation. Try bending your knees and laying them near your ears. Not everyone can do it, but all in good time! Perform our complex regularly and you’ll precisely achieve this level of stretching!
9. Cat & Camel
Stand on all fours (table position) with your hands exactly under the shoulder joints and your hips under the pelvic bones. Then arch your back up toward the ceiling and tighten (or brace) your abdominals, drop your chest toward the floor and lift your head slightly, imitating the cat. When arching rise up your chin, and when bending – lower your head down. Work at maximum amplitude but at a slow pace to avoid pain.
10. Twisting from a table pose
While staying in the table position, move the weight on one hand and place the second hand on the floor perpendicular to the body. So, you put the body weight on the scapula and hand, gently lift the second hand up, turning the head and body after it. Look up in the palm of your hand or forward. Perform extremely gently and slowly, without jerking so as not to damage the shoulder. This exercise develops flexibility of the upper back, strengthens arms and shoulders, improves balance and coordination.
After training recovery
After training, you should do exercises to relax back muscles, such as rolls. Sit on the floor, bend your knees, hug your legs with your hands. In this position, your back should be as if hunched. Gently begin to roll onto your back and back to a sitting position. If you have pain in the spine, lay a rug or a soft towel under your back. Do 10 of these rollings.
At the very end of the stretch, be sure to make an embryo pose. Stand on all fours and put the pelvis on its heels, stretching your arms out in front of you. The head touches the floor, the back is straight. In this position, relax all the muscles of the back, shoulders, arms. Lie down in the fetal position for at least a minute. Then stretch your arms along the torso without pulling them forward. You can turn your head to relax your neck. This position maximizes stress relief from the spine and gently stretches it.
That’s it! Congratulations! You have performed a full range of exercises for back stretching. Performing these exercises regularly, over time you will feel exactly how much easier this or that exercise is given to you. Also, your back will hurt less and it will be easier for you to perform different tilts in everyday life.
We wish you a flexible back and a healthy body!
If you completed the complex, please let us know below in the comments how you feel after it! It is very important for us to know the feedback from you!