Is your upper back stiff? Try these stretches that won’t hurt your lower back.
It can be hard to stretch your upper back and lower back separately because they’re closely connected by your spine. While the latter is easy to reach, the former can be a tricky spot because stretching it often causes your lower back to feel uncomfortable.
To get to your upper back without hurting or injuring your lower back, try these poses.
(Also read: 7 Easy Stretches You Must Do Every Morning)
This pose helps to relax your shoulders and give your upper back a deep stretch. As it doesn’t require you to bend forward or backward, you can be sure that your lower back will not be overexerted.
Reach your arms straight in front of you. Place your left elbow over your right. Twist your hands and try to make your palms connect. Hunch your back and relax your shoulders as you lift your elbows up. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then repeat on other side.
For an extremely relaxing pose, try this. It lengthens your spine to release any tension and compression. As it’s done on all fours with your head on the ground, it’s often used as a calming restorative posture.
Start on your hands and knees. Walk your hands forward a few steps. Keep your hips above your knees as your try to lower your chest and head to the ground. You can use a yoga block for assistance if needed. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
(Also read: Simple Desk Exercises You Can Do in the Office)
Thread the needle pose
As well as stretching your upper back, this pose helps to relax stiff shoulders too. The slight twist helps to refresh your body by getting rid of any tension on your spine.
Start from the puppy pose. Use your left hand to support yourself as you lift your right hand up and under your left armpit. Reach to the left with your palm facing up. You can turn your head to the left or right, whichever feels more comfortable. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then repeat on other side.
A fitting name is chosen for this weird looking pose that was recently popularised by Instagram yogis. But rest assured that your back will feel great after this. It’s a variation of the wheel pose that uses more stomach engagement to stretch your upper back.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet near your buttocks. Place your hands on the mat, above your shoulders with your fingers facing your shoulders. Engage your core, abs, legs and arms to push your body up. Lift your hips up and open your chest. Try to push your chest away from your body and shoulders. From there, keep your upper body in the same position as you bend your knees and sink your hips down. Keep lifting your chest and upper body up. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
(Also read: Best Floor Stretches For Runners with Tight Muscles)
Standing side stretch
Side stretches are simple but effective as they stretch your hips, obliques, core, back and shoulders at once.
Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Raise hands straight above your head. Hold your right wrist with your left hand and bend your body to the left. Try not to hunch or arch your back as you pull your body down with your left hand. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then repeat on other side.
(Also read: 5 Calf Stretches That Every Runner Should Do)