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Exercises to Improve Spinal Extension and Core Strength
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Nov 16, 2016
Here, I am using a makeshift back strap anchored to stall bars to work on spinal extension.
If you don't have access to these tools, you can use a gym ball for the initial passive stretch, or even a large ottoman or workout bench.
For the active extension exercises, you can use a back extension machine at a local gym or have a friend anchor your legs to a stable surface while your upper body hinges over it.
When passively extending your spine, give yourself plenty of time to gradually extend back with your upper body and then allow your hands to touch the ground behind you - this will further accentuate spinal extension and also encourage healthy shoulder flexion. Hold this passive stretch for up to a minute at a time.
When facing down and actively extending your spine, you can begin with your arms folded against your chest or even hanging freely. Aim to lower your upper body to create a 90 degree angle between your pelvis and trunk. Extend your spine upward until your ankles, hips, and spine are in a straight line.
When you can comfortably do 5 repetitions of active spinal extensions with your arms against your chest, you can challenge yourself by doing the same movement with your hands clasped behind your head.
To further challenge yourself, you can extend while rotating your trunk to one side - a good cue for this is to lead with one elbow so that your chest is facing one side as you extend back. You can alternate from side to side.
For an overview of exercise progressions that you can work at to improve your mobility and balance in a systematic way, please feel free to visit our Mobility Exercise Progressions page here:
For some suggestions on how to set up a simple workout area at home, please feel free to view:
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