What are Some Back Stretches?

N. Madison

Back stretches can be just the thing to help rejuvenate tired muscles and increase flexibility. The stretching motion can also help to prevent pain by making sure the muscles don't become too tight, and stretching may even help to lower the risk of serious back injury. Keep in mind that you should feel a stretch when you perform back stretches, not pain. If you begin to feel pain, don't stretch so far, and make sure you're not clenching your muscles. If pain persists, consult your doctor before continuing with your back stretches.

The tailbone, or coccyx, is the lowest segment of the spinal column.
The tailbone, or coccyx, is the lowest segment of the spinal column.

There are many back stretches you can try, including those that can be done while you are sitting down. For example, one type of back stretch involves sitting up straight in a chair, with your arms kept at your sides. Then, making sure your rear end is firmly in contact with the chair at both the tailbone and the lower back, pull your stomach in and towards the back of the chair. To ensure the best result, avoid tensing your muscles as you perform this stretch.

Stretching too far can cause pain in the back.
Stretching too far can cause pain in the back.

Next, fold your torso over, so that it is positioned over your legs, reaching your hands towards the floor. You should hold this position for about 30 seconds, and then pull your stomach in toward your backbone as you exhale, moving slowly to come up into a sitting position once more. Repeat these back stretches four or five times.

Some people prefer to do back stretches lying down. To do these back stretches, lie flat on a firm but soft surface. Bend your knees and make sure your feet are fat on the floor. Then, pull your legs toward your upper torso, using your hands behind your thighs to help. Pull your legs towards you until you feel a stretch and hold this position for about 10 to 20 seconds. Return to your original position and repeat the exercise

You can also perform back stretches by getting on all fours on the floor. Then scrunch your back toward the ceiling. Basically, you should look like a riled cat who is getting ready to pounce. Hold yourself in this position for about 10 seconds before pushing your stomach back towards the floor, arching your back this time. Hold this position for about 10 seconds as well before returning to the starting position and repeating the entire back stretch a few more times.

Regularly stretching the back may help reduce the risk of injury.
Regularly stretching the back may help reduce the risk of injury.

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Discussion Comments


@ocelot60- Yes, swimming is great for exercising the back muscles. However, it is a good idea to do some basic exercises like the ones mentioned in this article before you take to the water. This will loosen up your back muscles, and prepare them for swimming.


Does anyone know if swimming is a good form of exercise to stretch the back muscles? I love to swim, and would rather do this type of exercise than any other.


Toe touches are also great lower back stretches. Though many people have trouble touching their toes at first, the goal is to gradually increase the flexibility in your lower back and leg muscles until your hands will touch the floor. It may take time, but it will help alleviate back pain as you increase the mobility in these muscles.

To begin doing these types of stretches, start slowly and don't push yourself. Each day, do at least 5 toe touches, holding each one for the count of 30. You can increase the number that you do over time, and push yourself a little harder each day until you touch your toes. Eventually, you should be able to place your hand flat on the floor, though it may take several months of doing these stretches to meet that goal.

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