Want to add some injury-preventing stretches in to you personal training regime? These stretches target key muscle groups in your back –try on each side after a training session for a relaxing warm-down that will improve flexibility.
1. The arch: This stretch is great for your lower back. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and arms laid flat on either side. Slowly, using your lower stomach muscles and without using your arms to push or moving your hips, lift your back until you are leaning on the tops of your shoulders. Imagine you are peeling your spine off the floor, and try to imagine every part of the back lifting up individually – before ‘peeling’ back on to the floor. Repeat four times.
2. The swing: This will stretch your entire back, hamstrings, and calves. Holding on to a tall pole or something upright and sturdy you can hang off comfortably and safely, place your feet a stride or so behind you, and then release body into hanging position, so your back is almost flat and you are looking at the floor. Bend one leg slowly and lift the foot up into an arch, keeping the other leg straight so you can feel a stretch at the back of that leg and all along your back. Repeat on the other side slowly, for about 30 seconds.
3. The Doorframe: This will stretch the side and lower back. Stand next to a doorframe, and taking the furthest away arm, stretch up and touch the top of the doorframe (or as high as you can go!), leaning over so your head is bent and you can feel a stretch along the side of the body. Stretch the hand nearest the door down to your knee at the same time. Hold for 30 seconds, then try on the other side.