The lower abdominal muscles serve as a link between the trunk and the upper body, and can provide support to the lumbar spine as well. Sore or tight lower abdominal muscles can impair this region's ability to support the body and can place excess strain on the lower back. Stretching the lower abdominal muscles before and after a workout can lead to improved exercise performance and reduced back pain, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Perform the kneeling abdominal stretch by resting on your knees and keeping your torso erect and hips straight. Place your hands on the back of your hips and lean back, while arching your spine toward your abdomen. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to promote flexibility in the abdominal muscles. This stretch also improves range of motion in the hips.
Begin this stretch by lying face down on a mat, with your legs slightly apart. Place your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width and push your upper body off the ground. Lift until your hips are slightly off the floor and hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Lie on your back on an exercise mat. Extend your arms over your hand and keep your legs straight. Stretch the abdominal muscles by lifting your belly button toward the sky, arching your back as much as possible. Reach your arms as far as they can go to enhance the stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds and relax. This stretch also targets the chest muscles.
Start in a standing position, with your arms overhead and feet about shoulder-width apart. Reach your arms up, lift your chest and arch your upper body back as far as you can go. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and relax.