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Video:How to Stretch Your Back

with Michael Hughes

Learn how to stretch your back properly so that you avoid pulling your back muscles while exercising. Here are some basic stretches for your back.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Stretch Your Back

Hi I'm Michael Hughes, a fellow of Applied Functional Science, here in Gymnazo inside Kennedy Club Fitness, San Luis Obispo, Calif. I'm here for About.com and today we're going to look at ways to stretch out the back. Before you begin any sort of physical training, it's important to contact a physician and or a movement specialist to guide you in your training.

Dynamic and Static Poses Can Stretch Your Back

Stretching out the back is very, very important. There's two different ways to stretch out the tissues of the back. There's dynamic, which is movement based. Going from a shortening to a lengthening. Or vice versa, going from a lengthening to a shortening. And there's static. You think about holding a yoga pose, that's a static stretch.

Use a Door to Stretch Your Back

Here's one look at a dynamic stretch of the muscles of the scapula and the mid-spine. Shannon is going to use our True Stretch cage to represent how you can grab onto any door frame or any post around the gym or around the house. Shannon, why don't you take out your right arm and grab that post. She's going to do a split stance. That's going to give her a little more advantage to help drive the muscles in a very dynamic fashion.

Stretch Your Back in Three Planes of Motion

We're going to do it in three planes of motion. Forward and back, side to side, and rotational. Shannon's already preset herself to do the forward and back. She going to take her arm and swing it forward and backwards, driving her arm to help drive her hips. She's going to separate her point A hand, from her point B hips. She'll do anywhere from 10 to 15 times or however tight you feel. One plane of motion down.

Stretch Your Back Side to Side

Now we've got to go to our side to side plane. She's going to take her hand and go over the top of her head and back and forth. What she's doing now, she's taking her hand reaching one way while her hips are going the opposite way. Therefore separating point A from point B.

Stretch Your Back in a Transverse Plane

From there she's going to take her hand and reach across her body. Which is therefore going to take her hips and rotate them as well. That is a rotational or transverse plane stretch. Once you hit all three planes, please go to the opposite side and start the whole process over again.

Dynamic Spine Poses Can Stretch Your Back

Another example of a dynamic stretch, not so much for the muscles but for the actual spine itself, is example that we're going to show called the type 2 spine mobilization. Shannon is going to be taking her right hand and she's actually going to be rotating behind her, rotating the spine to the right side.

Complement the Spine Pose to Stretch Your Back

She is therefore going to take her left hand and do an overhead or right reach overhead, complementing that stretch. So she's going to place her foot, one foot forward. Let's do the same side foot forward. And she's going to take her right hand and rotate it right, while taking the left hand over the top. She's going to complete this motion about 10 times.

Tips for Stretching Your Back

Just remember a workout doesn't start without a good thorough warmup and end without a cool down and series of three dimensional stretches.

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