Stretches to Improve Low Back Flexibility | LIVESTRONG.COM

Best Lower back Stretches Flexibility

Image titled Get a More Flexible Back Step 1Sit on the floor with legs straight in front of you. Start by reaching arms upwards. Gently lean forward and reach towards your toes. This stretches both the hamstrings, leg muscles, and the lower back. For a more advanced version, keep your back completely straight as you lean over. Advanced or more flexible stretchers can reach past feet.

  • The goal is not actually to reach your toes (or not), but to straighten and lengthen the back. A mistake in form is to be focused on the feet rather than the back. This is a back exercise, not a foot-grabbing game.
  • Use props to get the form proper. Therabands, rolled up towels and belts can all be used to get into a modified form. This is not cheating; it is using tools to help you stretch.

Do a standing pike stretch. While standing erect, bend forward at the waist and reach towards the ground. Bend forward far enough to feel a comfortable stretch in the back and legs.

Method 2

Camel pose
  1. While standing or kneeling with your feet (or knees) shoulder-width apart, push your hips forward and lean back until you feel a stretch. This can be done with or without supporting yourself with your hands.
    • This is an intermediate yoga pose, and not one that should be done with a sore or stiff back or without guidance from a knowledgeable instructor.
    • If you cannot sink backwards enough to reach the heels, use yoga blocks or other props to support your back. Again-this is a challenging pose. Supports can help reach this goal, not be a "cheat".
    • For a deeper, even more helpful pose, for advanced students, try to bring your head to the floor. This is the camel in diamond position.

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Method 3

Back bend (bridge)
  1. Once you can comfortably perform the back extension, lie down on your back with your knees and arms spread shoulder width apart and push up to a back bend.

Method 4

Animal-pose stretches
  1. Kneel with your arms on the floor in front of you shoulder width apart. Push your spine to the ceiling and hold, then push your spine down and lift your head.
  2. Do an advanced cat stretch. Start as with the cat stretch, but slowly slide your arms forward on the mat while arching your back until you get your shoulders to touch the ground.
  3. Do a cobra stretch. Lie on your stomach with your elbows bent and hands by your sides. Slowly straighten your arms and tilt your head back.
  4. Do a swan stretch. Get into the position of the seal stretch, then slowly bring your feet up to try to touch your head. If you cannot touch your head with your toes, get them as close as you can to your head. This is a very effective stretch to improve back flexibility.

Method 5

Basket stretch
  1. While on your stomach, bend your knees and reach behind you to grab your ankles. Lift up with your arms and feet.

Method 6

Splits stretches (beginner and intermediate) Image titled Get a More Flexible Back Step 3
  1. Go into a lunge position. Push your pelvis down. If you feel pressure or pain, try not to push too hard.
  2. Stay in the lunge position. Sit back onto your bended knee and stretch out your front leg. Try to put your forehead to your knee. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring.
  3. Try to go down into the splits. Go down and far as you can but push a little further. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  4. If you think you cannot do it, you are wrong! Just repeat steps 1, 2, and 3, three times a day (in the morning when you wake up, at noon, and before you go to bed). You shall soon achieve your splits, with practice.

Method 7

Split stretch
  1. Start with your right foot. Place it in straight in front of you, as if you were doing the splits. With the left leg, bend it and place it behind as if you were doing a cheat version of the splits.
  2. Touch your right foot with both hands. Now, try to touch your knee with your forehead. Hold for 15 seconds minimum.
  3. Face the left. Bring your left arm over your body and try to touch your right foot. Hold again.
  4. Turn as far as you can to the right. Hold again.
  5. Arch your back, and try to look behind. Hold again.
  6. Switch. For each position, hold the position.
  7. Practice going down. However, make sure that your ankle is always in front and do not let your knee bend and go over it.
    • Do not bounce.
    • Stretch in the morning and evening.

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  • Self motivation is key! If you start to lose hope, just remind yourself of how awesome it'll be once you can do a front walkover.
  • Don't force your back to bend too far; it could cause major damage. Start off with small back stretches and work your way up. Stay safe!
  • Be consistent. Set aside time each day to stretch. Especially as we get older our backs tighten up if they are not stretched frequently.
  • It's important to remember to begin stretching slowly to ensure your muscles don't become too sore.
  • Make a goal for how flexible you want to become. When you achieve your goal, celebrate and set a new one.
  • Not everyone has a very flexible back, practice frequently for 15 or 30 minute sessions.
  • Decide what stretches are best for you and how often you will do them. If you always do the same stretches every day it will get boring, change it up a bit and you will be more likely to continue.
  • Practice against wall for you to get used to the feeling.
  • Don't push it. Your back isn't going to become flexible overnight.
  • Do exercises to strengthen and stretch your stomach muscles. Your back and stomach work together, so what you do for one will affect the other.
  • If you don't become flexible right away that's okay but that just means you have to keep practicing. Don't worry if you keep practicing you'll get it soon enough.
  • Sore today, stronger tomorrow . Remember this if you wish to get a more flexible back.


  • No pain no gain is a myth! If stretching is causing lower back pain, stop immediately! Being sore and stretching is one thing, but actual pain will not benefit your flexibility.
  • After doing a back stretch, make sure to stretch the other way, say you're doing a backbend, once you come out of that pose move into a child's pose
  • If at any point you feel a pinching in your back, stop immediately! Continue stretching only if the pinch does not return. Discontinue or lighten up on any exercise that results in this sort of pain.
  • Always check with your physician before starting any exercise or stretching regimen.
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