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Feeling Stiff? Try These Quick Stretches to Fix Back Pain!

Watch my TikTok here to see these movements in action!

Whether you had a rough night sleep, worked all day from a desk, or have a nasty case of tech neck from looking at all the Met Gala looks on your phone, these 10 stretches and mobility exercises will help relieve you!

Lower back problems are super common these days. Poor posture or sitting for long periods of time can cause lower back pain and tightness in the area. These stretches can help reduce pain and improve flexibility in the lower back.

First off before we get into the movements, it is important that you stretch your lower back with safety and care. Be especially gentle and cautious if you have any type of injury or health concern. It’s best to talk with your doctor first before starting any new types of exercise.

You can do these stretches once or twice a day. I like to do a variation of these in the AM and then before bedtime to decompress the spine.

1. Forward Fold to Half-way Lift

This movement is a yoga staple that de-compresses the spine. This would be my top movement to do after a bad nights sleep. Begin by standing up tall with your feet shoulder width apart. You will hinge your hips (aka push your hips back behind you) and slowly fold over, grabbing both your elbows for support. Spend a few seconds breathing and then slowly place your hands on your shins, straighten your arms and back for a half-way lift.

I recommend switching between these two poses for 5-10 reps.

2. Downward Dog to Deep Squat

This movement is more of a mobility drill that works extension through the spine and movement into the squat. You can always just do the downward dog pose and leave out the squat if you do not feel comfortable with it!

Start in Downward Dog (get on hands and knees, then push your butt up into the air forming an "A" shape). As a modification, you can keep a loose bend in the knees. Once you are here, walk forward with your feet and drop down into a squat. Keep the hands on the ground the whole tie and press those palms down for stability.

Hold the Downward Dog for 10 seconds, hold the squat for 10 seconds and repeat for 10 reps.

3. Thread the Needle Pose

This is a variation of a Child's Pose that I love. You will feel a nice stretch in the lower back AND in the shoulders (who doesn't love a double whammy?). Start in a Child's Pose (on all fours, bring knees should width apart and sit the hips back). Take the right arm and loop it under the left arm that is still extended. Hold this pose and then switch sides.

Perform for 5 reps and hold on each side for 10 seconds

4. Cat Cow

One of my favorite movements ever. This exercise is a great way to improve flexion and extension of the thoracic spine.

Starting in the quadruped position (on hands and knees with a flat back) , slowly move from a fully flexed position to a fully extended position. You will have your chin up and back curved and then move to a tucked in chin as you round the back and push off the floor with your palms. As you move slowly through the two positions, it is important to inhale as you extend, and exhale as you flex.

Try out 10 rounds and see how you feel!

5.Quadruped Torso Rotation

This movement works by taking your spine through rotation. You will notice this one might be a little difficult, because rotation is a limited factor for many people. Do not worry about opening your chest up all the way here, just go a little bit at a time for a nice stretch.

Start on hands and knees, then shift one forearm so that it directly below the midline of your chest. Place the opposite arm on your lower back (should be making a triangle shape). Rotate your body toward that elbow and look up at the sky as you turn. Stabilize your body by actively pressing the supporting forearm into the ground,

I recommend holding this pose for 30-60 seconds and perform 3 times each side.

6.Quadruped Side-bend

This is a top stretch to hit your lats and spinal erectors (the side and lower portion of your back). This is a static stretch so try to hold the pose a few seconds before switching sides. Start this pose in a Child's Pose position. Walk both arms out slightly to your left side until you feel a nice stretch in the side of your body under your armpits. Stay there for 30-60 seconds and then repeat on the right side of your body.

I recommend holding this pose for 30-60 seconds and perform 3 times each side.

7.Wag Tail Twists

This movement is very fluid and you should only spend a second or two on each side. Start on your hands and knees and have the knees close together. Lift your feet off the ground and swing both legs slightly to the left and then slightly to the right. If you cant touch them to the ground that is totally okay! You want a neutral back so make sure your back is not arching here.

I recommend 10 reps of this one on each side!

8.Deep Squat with Thoracic Rotation

This movement is great for thoracic mobility and is an overall great movement for the body. The goal is to keep your hips in a deep squat position while you reach overhead with one arm. Get into a deep squat and grab onto your ankles for support. As a modification, you can place a yoga block or books under your pelvis and heels for help.

Start this one with 3 sets of 8 each side, holding for 10 seconds.

9.Side-lying Thoracic Windmill (2 Variations)

Windmills (or Supine Twists) are great because they stretch the lower back and the gluteus maximus (everyone's favorite).

Variation A: You want to lie on your back with the arms outstretched to create a T position. Next lift both feet and bring the knees toward the chest until the shins are parallel to the ground. You want to keep the palms and shoulders flat on the ground. Slowly lower the knees to one side of the body and hold for 10 seconds before switching sides.

Variation B: This variation gives you more of a glute focussed stretch, it stretches the piriformis muscle which is located deep in your glutes. A tight piriformis can lead to pain in your lower back, so it is important to take care of it as well.

For this one, lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You want to pllace your right ankle at the base of your left thigh and then, place your hands behind your left thigh and pull up towards your chest until you feel a stretch. You can hold this pose here or deepen it by rotating to the left and then right.

Try to hold this one for 15 seconds on each side for 3 rounds!

10.Half Pancake Stretch

I saved the best for last! This stretch feels so good on your side body and helps you gain some flexibility as well.

Start in the Half Pancake position (one leg extended out to the side and the other leg bent into your body). Rotate your torso toward the bent knee and then reach over toward the outside leg. Don't worry about depth, a little bend here is all you need.

I hope that these stretches and movements bring you some relief! Make sure to follow @happyhippiefitness_ on Instagram to see more stretching and mobility content!

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