Stretching Exercises continued ....
The Cat: back stretching exercise
Begin on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Inhale as you drop tummy towards the floor and look up over your head. Exhale as you bring your tummy back up, rounding your back as you tuck your chin in and tuck your tailbone in. Move slowly back and forth between these two positions pausing on each pose. Repeat about 5 times.
The Cobra: abdominal and chest stretching exercise, increases lower back flexibility, strengthens arms and upper back
Lay flat on stomach, forehead to ground, with arms bent and palms down on the ground just below the shoulders.
Push your hips into the ground.
Keep shoulders blades down and close together.
Push into your hands, as you slowly straighten your arms, raising your chest and arching your back. Only go as far as you can do without feeling discomfort in the lower back. Hips should remain on floor.
Hold for a count of 5 before slowly bringing the upper torso back down to the ground. Repeat about 5 times. Note: If this exercise is too difficult, place elbows and forearms on floor, elbows below shoulders.
Standing Side Stretch: targets obliques
Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart. Raise left arm overhead, palm facing right. Place right hand on hip for support. Right hand can also be placed against side of thigh.
Reach left arm up and over to right, lean torso slightly to the right until you feel a gentle stretch in the right side. Hold stretch 30 seconds. Slowly return to start. Switch sides and repeat.
Wall Lower Back Stretch:
Stand up with your upper back and buttocks against a wall, with your heels about 3 or 4 inches away from wall. Very gently press the small of your back against the wall. Hold for 30 seconds.
Knee to Chest: lower back and buttocks stretch
Lie on back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Grasp left leg behind the knee/back of thigh and pull knee towards chest. (Right leg may be either bent with foot flat on floor or straight with leg on floor to simultaneously stretch front of right hip) Hold 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
GLUTEALS/ PIRIFORMIS STRETCHES:
(Piriformis lies beneath gluteal muscles) you can pick one or two of the following glute stretches per exercise session.
Lying Piriformis/ Glute Stretch I
Lie on back with legs in air, knees bent at 90 right angle. Cross left leg over right leg. Grasp the back of your right thigh and pull legs toward chest until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
Lying Piriformis / Glute Stretch II
Lie on back with legs in air, knees bent at 90 right angle. Place left ankle just above right knee. Grasp the back of your right thigh and pull legs toward chest until you feel a stretch in the left glute. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
back exercises continued...