In our “BE PHYSIE STRONG!” series we’ve been talking about core strength, abs and upper body strength. Now let’s talk about your back! It’s so important to have a strong back that’s flexible in all directions and it’s equally vital to exercise and stretch it safely.
These two exercises are great for strengthening and arch flexibility. Picture 1 shows gentle leg and arm raises while on your tummy (dont bent your neck back, stay looking down or diagonally forward). Picture 2 shows the sequence from lying to sphinx (on forearms) to gently pushing up until your elbows are straight – or just as far as you can go. In physie we do this with the heels together but for your workout you can have your feet a little apart. Again, don’t bend your neck back, keep it in line with your body.
Next these pictures show you how to stretch your back in the opposite direction – concave. Picture 3 is known as the ‘cat’ stretch and picture 4 shows the ‘child’s pose’.
Spinal rotation is also important. There are various ways to achieve this, the easiest being to lie on your back with your knees bent up and rotate your knees from side to side, keeping your shoulders pressed into the floor. It’s important to keep your knees pressed together while you rotate. You can leave your feet on the floor like picture 5, or lift your legs to square (like you’re sitting on a chair) which will use your abs as well. Lastly lift the knees up towards the chest then rotate, which gives a nice rotational stretch of the upper spine. (visualise bringing your knees to your armpits). Another way is to sit like picture 6 or with your legs astride and twist around behind you placing your hands flat on the floor and gently taking your chest down towards the floor.
Finish your back workout with a lengthening stretch. Reach as far forward as you can with your right arm and stretch your left leg back as far as possible. Alternate legs and arms. Then try stretching the same arm and leg, then alternate.
Side stretches are great too… check in next week for some of these!