There are several reasons why you might suffer from a stiff lower back. You may have tight hip flexors or hamstrings from a lot of running, or you may spend a lot of time sitting and tend to sit with your spine arched. Either way, if you’re looking for ways to loosen up your back, there are some simple stretches that can help.
Of course, if you suffer from persistent back pain it’s a good idea to seek medical advice from a professional, but if you’re looking for an easy stretch to incorporate into your daily routine, the crucifix stretch is worth trying. Read on to find out more.
How to stretch the crucifix
To try the crucifix stretch, start by lying flat on your back and stretching your arms out to the side. Lift one knee toward your chest and lower that knee to the opposite side of your body, keeping your arms and shoulders on the floor. You should feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold the stretch for 20-40 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
This stretch targets the lower back and is a good morning exercise when you wake up feeling stiff. It’s also good for most athletes who want to tone their backs after running, cycling, or weightlifting.
What Other Stretches Are Good for Lower Back Pain?
If you’re looking for other popular back stretches, here are some others worth trying:
Cat Cow Pose
To do the cat/cow stretch, get on your hands and knees with your knees hip-width apart. Make sure your hands are in line with your shoulders and your knees are stacked under your hips. Engage your core, take a deep breath and arch your back, drawing your belly button into your spine.
Hold the top of the movement for two or three breaths – you should feel a stretch in your spine and lower back. Then move into the cow portion of the stretch by lowering your stomach to the floor, lifting your sit bones outward, and raising your head and neck toward the ceiling, rounding your spine. Move between these two routes for a few minutes each day. Learn more about the benefits of the Cat-Cow Pose here.
This classic yoga pose is great for stretching the hip flexor muscles, which attach deep in your lower back and can cause pain when tight. To do a pigeon pose, start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist. Extend your left leg behind you, making sure your right ankle is in line with your left hip and that your hips are straight before lowering yourself to the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds – you should feel the stretch in your right hip. Repeat on the other side. Here are more stretches to help loosen tight hip flexors.
The pose of the child
This gentle yoga stretch helps stretch the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, and back. To do a child pose, start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor. Sink back through your hips to support your glutes on your heels and extend your arms straight in front of you. Your stomach should be resting on your thighs and you should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your body. Here, take a few deep breaths and hold the pose for a few minutes.
Stretch knees to chest
This is similar to the crucifix stretch but without the twist. First, lie on your back and raise one knee to your chest. Press your knee to your chest, keep the other leg extended and your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold this for 30 seconds to a minute before straightening the leg and repeating on the other side.
Today’s best Fitbit Charge 5 deals