Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Exercises to Improve Your Posture and Bring Relief to Your Back


Our aim with these planned series of back straightening exercises is to give you with an exercise program, which when practiced regularly, will help you get rid of round back and discomfort in the spine and give you an optimal posture. If you are diagnosed with a spinal or back injury, consult with your doctor if this exercises are suitable for you.

                                           Cat and Camel or Cow Pose



 Initial position. Start with your hands and knees on the exercise mat. Your knees should be directly below your hips and your palms under the shoulders. Keep your pelvis and spine in a neutral (straight) position, by engaging your abdominal muscles to support your spine.
● Pull your abdominal muscles in as you arch your back up like a stretching cat and simultaneously let your head and tailbone drop down toward the floor;
● Return to the initial position;
● Extend the upper part of the spine upwards, supporting it with your abdominal muscles. In the beginning, at this point you can return to the starting position. Later on, as you advance in the exercise, supplement it by moving your tailbone and hips up as well. Make sure your neck is a long extension of your spine and don’t let the head fall back;
● Return to starting position. Repeat 5 times.


Back Extension 


Initial position. Lie on your stomach and put your forehead on the exercise mat. Place your arms at your sides and press your palms on the thighs. Straighten your elbows. Put your legs together drawing out the toes slightly.
● Exhale. Gradually lift the head, chest and upper abdomen from the mat, keeping the feet and hands in the initial position;
● Inhale. Slowly lower the trunk and head to the initial position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.

                                                            Back Stretching

Initial position. Sit on the mat and straighten your back. Stretch your legs in front of you and place them apart – slightly wider than shoulder width. Toes are pointing upward (dorsiflexion). Lean straightened hands on a mat near the pelvis.
● Pull your abdomen in and at the same time tilt your head forward, bending your upper back and stretching your arms in front of you. Glide your hands forward on the mat, between your legs;
● Straightening your body, return to the initial position. Repeat the stretch 5 times.
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.

                                 Supplementary Exercise for Back Stretching

 

 
In a supine position (on your back, face up), bring your knees to your chest. Hold the stretching position with medium to strong intensity. Avoid sharply increasing the intensity of the stretching. Keep the chest straightened, shoulders relaxed and the shoulder blades together. Breathe freely.

Heel Kick

 Initial position. Lie on your stomach and leaning on the arms, lift the upper torso. The forearm should be placed so that the angle between the shoulder and the body was about 90 degrees. The hands are clenched into fists and touching each other. Legs are extended and closed, toes slightly pointed.
● Inhale. Lift both legs about 5 cm from the floor. Vigorously bend one leg at the knee, trying to touch the buttocks with the heel;
● Exale. In the same energetic movement straighten your leg at the knee, bending the other one and going for the buttocks. Repeat the exercise 20 times (10 per leg).
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.

                                                       Double Impact

Initial position. Lie on your stomach, putting your chin on mat. Bend your elbows and bring your hands behind your lower back. The hands should lie on the sacrum. Lift both legs approximately an inch (2-3 cm) from the mat. Straighten your knees and gently pull the toes.
● Vigorously bend your knees, trying to bring the heels towards the buttocks, as shown in the illustration;
● Lift the chest off the mat, straighten your arms at the elbows, turning the back of the hand towards the feet. Simultaneously, straighten your knees, trying to lift them as high as possible off the floor. Hold the position briefly then return to the initial position. Repeat 6 times.
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.

                                                         Swimming

 Initial position. Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms in front of you, palms facing downwards. Slightly lift the chest, arms and legs of the mat. Keep the legs and toes extended.
● Raise your right arm and left leg;
● Then raise the left arm and right leg, while returning their opposite to their initial position. Continue the exercise for 10 exchanges. The exchange of the opposite limbs is quick, but smooth.
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.

                                                        Stomach Rolls

 Initial position. Lie on your stomach, bend your knees and bring them on your hip. Take hold of the feet with your hands, as shown in the figure. Now, lift the head, chest and knees on the mat.
● Breathing in, roll forward onto your belly, as shown in the figure;
● Breathing out, roll in the opposite direction, from your stomach to the pelvis. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.

                                                     Diving Swan

Initial position. Lie on your stomach and leaning on the arms, lift your chest off the mat. Elbows should be pushed forward and placed wider than shoulders and the hands should be touching. Legs and toes are extended.
● Breathing in, straighten the elbows and raise them to the sides on level with the shoulders and then raise your chest even higher. At the same time, lift slightly both legs off the mat;
● Breathing out, roll forward onto your belly, as shown on the last illustration;
● Breathing in, roll back into the intended position. Repeat 5 times, accompanying the rolls forward with exhalation, and the rolls back with inhalation.
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.

                                    Diving Swan Alternative Variant

 
Diving Swan can also be performed by raising his hands above the head rather than keeping them wide apart, as shown in the illustration above. The same hand position is maintained on the reverse roll as well. This increases the load of spine extensor muscles, but also helps to maintain a uniform curvature of the spine during the rolls.
* Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid any injuries.