A thorough warm-up is one of the most crucial parts in maintaining a healthy back, not to mention healthy muscles and joints throughout the rest of your body. All it takes is five minutes to give your spine a proper warm-up, preparing it for the cardio or weightlifting workout ahead.
If you work at a desk or have another relatively sedentary job, chances are you don’t move many of your joints through their full ranges of motion. But when you work out, you tend to use much greater ranges of motion. So your warm-up needs to include motions that you wouldn’t normally do on a day-to-day basis.
1. The Worlds Greatest Stretch
Instructions: Take a large, lunging step forward with your right foot. Bend the right knee to drop down into a lunge position. Place the left hand on the ground. Turn your shoulders and torso toward the right leg and reach your right arm up toward the ceiling. Perform five repetitions on each side.
2. Cat Cow Stretch
Instructions: Get down on your hands and knees press into a table top position. For cat pose, draw your belly into your spine curving the back, drop your head and look at your belly button. For cow pose, arch your back in the opposite direction dropping your belly to the floor and lifting your chin and chest up. Perform five repetitions on each side.
3. Child's Pose/ Paraspinal Stretch
There’s a large group of muscles called the paraspinals, which run down your entire back. These muscles help stabilize your back during the day and usually end up get very tight and tired. This is a very relaxing stretch for your back and will also stretch your shoulders!
Instructions: Kneel on the floor or on a yoga mat and slowly stretch forward so that your hands and arms are extended on the floor in front of you. Sink your butt back to your feet. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat at least two to three times.