Previously, I have highlighted some exercises for you to strengthen your back. Interestingly enough, though, many back issues arise from people having extremely tight back muscles. So even if you are fit and healthy, all the exercises you do need unwinding for them to relax and for your body to be at peace (I mean this quite literally because more often than not a sore muscle is caused by two antagonist muscles “at war”). So on top of the exercises you did to strengthen your back, here are some stretches you can do to save yourself some agony. =)
This stretch helps stretch out the abdominals. Sometimes after a good abs workout, tight ab muscles may cause your pelvic bone (your hip bone) to tilt back. This can be seen if you tend to stand by pushing your hips forward as if to “hide your tail between your legs”.
When doing the cobra pose, ensure you hips do not leave the ground too much, best to keep them touching the floor.
This stretch helps to lengthen the lower back. A lot of us do not sit with good postures, often do to poor ergonomic infrastructure. Doing this stretch helps to ease the tension in the lower back caused by sitting in a bad posture for too long.
Try to keep your arms stretched out in front of you as much as possible, your elbows should be off the mat.
Knee to chest
By pulling your knee(s) in towards your chest in a lying down position, you are stretching your glutes (butt muscles). There are many of us who have extremely tight butt muscles either from doing lots of lower body exercises without stretching, or from lots of sporting activities such as cycling, running uphill, hiking etc.
You can start with one leg at a time, pulling your knees gently towards your chest and holding it when you start to feel the stretch on your glutes. Finish up with pulling both knees inwards at the same time, and hug your knees firmly.
Your piriformis muscle is a small muscle in the upper side of your butt. This is tight for almost everyone I know. Giving it a good stretch every now and then will loosen you up and help you avoid back pain.
When pulling your leg towards your chest, try to keep the leg that is on top of the other thigh, parallel to your chest. Pull on the thigh that is beneath this leg. Repeat with the other leg.
Lower back twist
This is a great stretch that will take all the kinks and knots out of your lower back. The effects are almost instantaneous!
Have your arms stretched out like a cross. Press down gently on the knee that is bent, and once you feel the stretch hold the position. Keep your chest and head facing upwards, so your lower back gets the maximum twist. Repeat on the other side.
These are all great stretches that can be done at home. Hold each position for about 8 seconds on each side. Your entire stretching session should be as long as you can manage, but with a good 10 minutes of stretching you’ll already feel the difference. Hope this helps!