Back 1

Targeted Muscles: Back
What You Need: Sturdy, armless chair
Talk to Your Doctor: If you've had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before trying this stretch.
 
Tip: As you progress, bend as far forward as you can and eventually touch your heels.
This exercise is for your back muscles. If you've had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before trying this stretch.
  1. Sit securely toward the front of a sturdy, armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly bend forward from your hips. Keep your back and neck straight.
  3. Slightly relax your neck and lower your chin. Slowly bend farther forward and slide your hands down your legs toward your shins. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  4. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
  5. Straighten up slowly all the way to the starting position.
  6. Repeat at least 3-5 times.

Safety

  • Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Always keep them slightly bent while stretching.
  • Always stretch with a smooth, steady movement. Don’t jerk or bounce into the stretch; it may cause injury.
  • A mild pulling feeling while you are stretching is normal. If you feel sharp or stabbing pain or joint pain, you’re stretching too far. Reduce the stretch so it doesn’t hurt.
  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
  • Always warm up before stretching exercises. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up can result in injury. If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. If you are doing endurance or strength exercises, stretch after, not before.
  • If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower-back flexibility exercises.