To prevent back injury and keep your lower back muscles flexible, put a new twist into your stretching routine. ‘This loosens up the muscles and takes away tension around the spinal column, hamstrings and glutes, making them stronger and more flexible,’ says Mark Crocker, owner of In Your Element Personal Fitness and Rehabilitation in St. John’s. Do this stretch after a quick warm-up or after a lower-body or back workout; never do this with ‘cold’ muscles.
Lie on your back and bring knees up toward your chest so your body is positioned as if you’re sitting in a chair. Your knees and hips should be bent at 90-degree angles. Now, place the palms of your hands flat on the floor. ‘Take a deep breath and slowly exhale as you count down from four and bring your knees down to the right side,’ says Crocker. Lift your left hip up but keep your shoulders touching the floor. ‘Always take it slow. If you do it fast, you defeat the purpose of the stretch.’ Try to keep your knees together and tip them over as far as you can, while keeping your hands on the floor. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. Return to start and repeat, dropping knees to the left this time. Do this stretch daily, once on each side.