Squat stretch

Ease back pain and ensure your spine stays healthy by regularly stretching it

Squat stretch

Source: Best Health Magazine, Summer 2010; Illustration by Kagan McCleod

Women put their backs through a lot of abuse: picking up the kids, slouching over the computer and just carrying around too much stuff. So it’s good to keep it properly stretched. Here’s one for your upper back. (Bonus: This move also stretches the hamstrings.)


Stand with your legs wider than shoulder width apart, and turn toes slightly outward. With your abs and buttocks tight, lower your body, bending at the knees, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Place your hands on top of your knees. Lift your pelvis (engage the muscles you would use to stop urine flow). Inhale and keep good posture as you press your right hand down on your right knee; exhale and turn your shoulders to your left. Breathe in and out three times (about 20 to 30 seconds total). Stand up, then repeat the stretch on the other side.

This article was originally appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!