After a strenuous workout or bending over and picking up a heavy object, your lower back muscles can become tender and sore. Stretching can help facilitate pain relief, because it prevents your muscles from getting too tight after your workout and also increases blood flow, which in turn will deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your damaged muscles. If your muscles are sore due to an injury, visit your doctor before stretching so you don't exacerbate the problem.
For Stretching Success
To see significant improvements in pain and soreness, complete your lower back stretching routine several times per day. Walk or cycle for five to 10 minutes before stretching to increase blood flow and body temperature. When stretching, slowly move into a position just until you feel mild discomfort and then hold that position for about 30 seconds. Complete each stretch two to three times.
Give Your Knees a Hug
Begin your routine with the knee to chest stretch. Lie on your back on an exercise mat with both legs extended. Bring one knee to your chest and use your hands to grab your upper thigh and pull it tightly toward your chest. Keep the other leg fully extended. After you’re finished, switch legs. Once you finish the single-leg knee to chest stretch, complete the stretch while pulling both legs to your chest at the same time.
Stretch with a Twist
The lying twist helps stretch the lower back by rotating your torso. Lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor out to your sides. Keep both shoulders down as you lower both knees to one side until they’re resting on the floor. Turn your head in the opposite direction as you do that. After you’re finished, turn your head and drop your knees toward the other side.
Stretching Like a Cat
For the cat stretch, get on all fours so your hands are placed directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. It’s a dynamic stretch, meaning you continue to move instead of holding a position for a short period of time. Drop your head and slowly round your back toward the ceiling. Bring your neck and head to neutral position and lower your back to return it to a neutral position also. Then drop your stomach toward the floor, arching your back and moving your head and neck up. Continue curling and arching your spine until you complete 10 reps.
- National Strength and Conditioning Association Performance Journal: Flexibility Training: Incorporating All Components of Fitness
- ExRx.net: Lying Lower Back Stretch
- My Life Stages: Lower Back Stretches
- Athletico: The 5 Top Stretches to Minimize Back Pain
- American Council on Exercise: ACE's Top Ten Reasons to Stretch