Posts Tagged ‘bird dog’

Simple Exercises for Back Health

Cat – Cow Stretch

catcowstretch

This move increases flexibility in the spine by stretching you back, torso and neck. Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Move into the cat pose by rounding your back toward the ceiling and drawing your stomach up into your back, looking at the floor. Hold the pose for a long breath, then move into the cow pose by lifting your chin and chest to look up and lowering your shoulders toward the ground. Hold pose for a long breath, and repeat series 15-20 times.

 

Bird Dog

birddog

This exercise increases core strength and improves the stability of your low back.  Place your shoulders over your wrists and align your hips over your knees. Engage your abdominal muscles, then lift your right leg straight behind you. Keep the hips level. Once your core feels stable, lift your left arm forward. Stretch your body out long. Keep the back of your neck in line with your spine. Hold for a few seconds before returning to your starting position. Exhale as you lift your arm and leg. Do not let your leg or arm go too high.  Slow and steady is the name of the game. Repeat 8-10 times.  *To modify this keep your toes on the extended leg on the ground while extending your opposite arm.

 

Down Dog

downdog

This yoga pose helps reverse the forces of gravity that normally act on the spine, while strengthening your deep abdominal muscles that support your low back. Try to hold the pose for 5 deep breathes in and out.

 

 

 

Bridge

bridge

Use this exercise to strengthen glutes, core, and hamstrings. This is an excellent exercise if you have back injuries. Lie with your back on the floor and knees bent at 90 degrees. Lift the hips off the floor by pushing through the floor with your heels. The result should be a bridge from the back of your shoulders to your knees. Lower your hips and repeat.

 

Dead Bug

deadbug

 

Stabilize the lower spine and increase strength in deep abdominal muscles, diaphragm, and your pelvic floor. Lie on your back with your arms extended in front of your shoulders. Bend your hips and knees to a 90-degree angle. Contract your abs and press your lower back into the floor. Take a deep breath in. Exhale as you slowly extend your left leg toward the floor and bring your right arm overhead. Keep your abs contracted and don’t let your lower back arch. Slowly return your arm and leg to the starting position. Repeat with your opposite arm and leg.  Recommend 8 -10 repetitions.

 

Open Doorway Stretch

opendoorway

 

When chest muscles are tight they can cause pain in your neck and upper back, and affect your posture. Stand in an open doorway and place your arms on either side. Keep elbows level with shoulders. Step forward gently and allow your arms to stretch back.

 

For more back exercises, visit Exercise at about.com