Stretch It Out
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
“Tight hips are a common complaint, and can contribute to lower back pain,” McCamish says. The standing hip flexor stretch is an accessible and effective option you can do practically anywhere.
- Take a wide step forward with your right foot and bend both knees, keeping your weight in your front heel.
- Tuck your pelvis under and hold the position. You should feel a stretch through the front of your left hip.
- Reach your left arm up over your head to deepen the stretch.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat to the opposite side; perform the stretch twice on each side.
Supported Back Bend
The supported back bend (or standing camel pose) is a great way to open up your chest and shoulders.
- Place both hands on your lower back, your fingers pointing down toward your glutes.
- Tighten up your core for support and pull your shoulders back as you arch your upper back and look toward the ceiling.
- Only bend as far as you feel comfortable, then hold the position, breathing deeply.
- Hold for 10 seconds, release, then repeat two more times.
McCamish’s ragdoll-like hamstring stretch does three things for you: It stretches your hamstrings, relaxes your neck and spine, and allows blood to rush to your head, leaving you feeling invigorated.
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart or slightly wider, your knees slightly bent.
- Tilt your head forward, drawing your chin to your chest before rolling your torso down toward the floor one vertebrae at a time.
- Hang like a ragdoll, or gently swing your torso to the right and left, then shake your head “yes” and “no.”
- Hold the position as long as you like, aiming for at least 20 to 30 seconds; repeat the exercise two to three times.
Standing Figure-4 Hip Stretch
The standing figure-4 hip stretch helps loosen up your glutes, which can help alleviate low back pain.
- Stand behind a sturdy chair and place your hands on its back for support.
- Cross your right ankle over your left knee, allowing your right knee to flare outward, as though forming the number 4.
- Bend your left knee and press your hips back, lowering yourself as if you were sitting down in a chair in a half-squat.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, release, and repeat to the opposite side; perform the exercise two times per leg.
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