Supine cross-leg spinal twist

This stretch benefits both your spine and abdominals’great after a long day at the office

Supine cross-leg spinal twist

Source: Best Health Magazine, October 2009; Illustration by Kagan McLeod

After a day of slouching over in your chair or after a tough ab workout, stretch your spine and abdominals with this move. This stretch could even ease the pain of menstrual cramps, says Ottawa-based Marla Ericksen, an integrated fitness coach and spokesperson for CanFitPro.


Lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, stretch your arms out to your sides, palms face down. Think of this as a yoga move and breathe throughout the stretch; inhale and exhale for about four seconds each. Cross your right knee over your left knee, as if you’re sitting in a chair, with your right foot off the floor. Shift your hips to the right about two inches (5 cm), and drop your knees to the left. ‘You don’t need the knees to touch the floor,’ says Ericksen. ‘Come to a natural stop whenever your range of motion is finished.’ Your right shoulder will come off the floor a bit, and that’s okay, as long as you continue to face the ceiling. Now, turn your right hand so the palm faces up and reach your right arm back and halfway up toward your head. ‘That’s to open up the chest and finish off the rotation of the spine,’ says Ericksen. Hold for one to three minutes; repeat on the other side.

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!