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Put Your Back Into It: Simple Ways on How to Stretch Your Back Muscles

Next to your skin and hair, muscles might be the next most noticeable part of your body. Given the fact that it makes up around 40% of our entire body weight, it’s also a fact that we will rely on them for all the entirety of our lives. Even while you sleep, your muscles are tirelessly working.
 
Given how crucial your muscles are in your day-to-day living, being used to them may also make them easy to overlook, or sometimes be taken for granted. The majority of us may be guilty that we rarely pay attention to them unless they start to bring us discomfort or pain.
 
Now let’s talk about one particular muscle group that we need to pay attention to — your back muscles. As often as how you use it in your everyday life, it’s also quite common to feel some discomfort from it from time to time.
 
In this article, we will be listing down exercises for stretching your back muscles safely. We’ll also be discussing why it is important and how doing the exercises regularly can benefit you. We’ll also be referencing some Youtube videos to give you a visual instruction on how to execute these stretches properly.
 

Why are Your Back Muscles Important?

Before we can point out the importance of stretching your back muscles, lets first review what muscles are in general.
 
The main function of our muscular system if for movement. Aside from movement, another function of your muscles is to support your skeletal frame. Your back muscles are what support your vertebral column or your “backbone” and what keeps it erect. Your spinal cord, which is situated within the backbone, is the bridge that connects the brain to all other parts of your body.
 
Not to mention that both your upper and lower back muscles are the main muscle group that allows you to do pulling motions, which is a common action you’ll be doing in everyday life, such as when you’re doing chores, when we pull, lift, twist our waist, bend over, or lean forward. Even for actions as simple as standing and sitting, our back muscles are already at work.
 

Why Do You Need to Stretch?

As the word suggests, stretching allows your muscles to reach their maximum range of motion, thus allowing flexibility. Stretching also subjects your muscles against resistance, which in turn trains your muscles to be stronger.
 
When muscle fibres are not stretched regularly, they tighten up and shorten. Doing any physical activities at this state causes your muscles to pull on your joints, as your muscles are currently lacking flexibility. In your back muscles’ case, your backbone is what will be affected.
 
Both your upper and lower back muscles are the main muscle group that is responsible for pulling and other postural movements, so you’ll be using them most of the time. Given how important both your backbone and spinal cord are, there’s no need to “stretch” further how important it is to have strong and flexible muscles supporting them.
 

How to Stretch Your Back Muscles?

There are plenty of ways of how you can stretch your back muscles, which you can choose according to your preference or what is advised by your physiotherapist.
 
Here are 4 of the commonly used ways of stretching your back muscles.
 

Knee-Chest Stretch

1. Lie down with knees bent, both your back and feet and flat against the floor.
2. While your back is flat against the floor, gently bring your knees toward your chest, using your arms to pull either the back of your thighs or your knees.
3. While pulling, feel your back muscles and look for a gentle stretching feeling.
4. Once you’ve located the position where your back muscles are optimally stretched, hold the position for 15 seconds.
5. Slowly return to the initial position.
6. Repeat 7 to 9 times.
 
*Note that you can also perform this exercise with one knee at a time if you’re having some issues doing it with both at the same time.
 

Prone Bridging Stretch

1. Lie down with your stomach against the floor.
2. Plant your palm against the floor and using your elbows, gently support your upper body up.
3. As you are extending your back, feel your back muscles and look for a gentle stretching feeling.
4. Once you’ve located the position where your back muscles are optimally stretched, hold the position for 15 seconds.
5. Slowly return to the initial position.
6. Repeat 7 to 9 times.
 

Supine Lift Bridge

1. Lie down with knees bent, both your back and feet and flat against the floor.
2. With arms straight and palms against the floor, gently lift your pelvis up.
3. Hold the position for 15 seconds.
4. Slowly return to the initial position.
5. Repeat 7 to 9 times.
 

Supine Twisting Stretch

1. Lie down with knees bent, both your back and feet and flat against the floor.
2. With back against the floor and knees bent, rotate your hips to one side.
3. Slowly lower your legs until you find a gentle stretching feeling on your back muscles.
4. Hold the position for 15 seconds.
5. Slowly return to the initial position.
6. Repeat 7 to 9 times.
7. After assuming the starting position, repeat step number 2, but to the direction opposite from your first rotation.
8. Slowly lower your legs until you find a gentle stretching feeling on your back muscles.
9. Hold the position for 15 seconds.
10. Slowly return to the initial position.
11. Repeat 7 to 9 times.
 

Helpful Video Clips

There are other techniques on how to stretch your muscles available aside from the above mentioned. If you’re interested in trying them out or if you need visual guidance on how to execute these stretching exercises, here are a couple of Youtube videos you can check out.
 

Lower Back Stretches for Back Relief (MORNING BED ROUTINE) – Michelle Kenway

Michelle Kenway, a physical therapist and an accomplished author, shows us how to execute some of the exercises for stretching the lower back.
 


 
The next video, from UC San Diego Health, shows us other routines that you can perform to stretch both your back and core, which offers more benefits. As participants are performing these exercises, the video gives an in-depth explanation of how to execute them and how they benefit our bodies.
 

7 Simple Core Exercises That Prevent Lower Back Pain – UC San Diego Health

 

Better Be Safe Than Sorry

These exercises are generally safe and can be performed by almost anyone, but consulting your physiotherapist can also be a great help when you’re planning to start a regular stretching regimen.
 

Your physiotherapist can help you identify if certain exercises may not be suited for you. At the same time, they can also guide you on how to properly execute these exercises and even create a custom exercise regimen depending on your needs.
 
It is also important that you seek a physiotherapist’s advice should you have any of the following:
 
• If you have any existing medical conditions affecting your bones, joints, or muscles in particular.
• When you feel acute pain upon executing these exercises
• If you had any surgeries or injuries concerning your spine, back muscles or knees
• If you are looking for guidance on how to prevent any injuries or how to maximize these exercises

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