There are very few single-movement stretches that provide as much benefit to as many areas of the body as the spinal twist does. ‘It wakes you up, gets blood flow to the spine, improves mobility through the lower back and improves posture,’ says Jay Blahnik, world-renowned fitness educator and author of Full-Body Flexibility. ‘One simple stretch does so much, and feels so good.’
He recommends incorporating spinal twists into your daily stretching routine and even during the workday since long periods of sitting can make these muscles short and tight, leading to lower back pain and poor posture.
The key, says Blahnik, is to lengthen the spine rather than forcing the body into a position. Begin by sitting tall, extending both legs in front of you. Bend right knee and cross it over the left thigh, then bend left knee (you can keep your left leg straight if necessary). Take left elbow and place it on the outside of the right knee, then place right hand on the floor behind you, looking over your right shoulder. Hold and breathe deeply for 15 to 30 seconds, and release. Switch sides and repeat. ‘Try and remember to ‘lift’ through your back and not simply twist your spine,’ says Blahnik.