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Stretches to Improve Low Back Flexibility

author image Linda Kaban
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.
Stretches to Improve Low Back Flexibility
Women are stretching in a yoga class. Photo Credit ShotShare/iStock/Getty Images

Your body was meant to move fluidly, with powerful grace. When you lose flexibility, especially in your lower back, you begin to move more like a wooden puppet than with limber ability. To keep your lower back flexible, or to improve your lower back flexibility, you have to stretch it every day. Practice standing, seated and supine stretching moves that will slowly, and without strain, help you to gain more range of movement in your lower back and which will act as a preventive measure against losing your flexibility.

Rag Doll

Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and bend your knees slightly.

Step 2

Bend forward slowly from your waist until your upper torso, head and arms are dangling loosely toward the floor.

Step 3

Breathe slowly in and out through your nose. With every exhalation, you’ll notice your lower back loosening.

Step 4

Stay in Rag Doll for up to two minutes and then rise back up to standing with a flat back. Perform Rag Doll once every morning and every evening before you go to bed.

Standing Side Stretch

Step 1

Stand with your feet 2 feet apart. Your arms are at your sides.

Step 2

Exhale and raise your right arm up and over your head to the left. At the same time, lower your left hand down the side of your left leg as far as it can go without straining your lower back.

Step 3

Inhale and return to your original standing position. Exhale and raise your left arm up and over your head to the right, while sliding your right hand down the side of your right leg.

Step 4

Perform 10 stretches on both sides, moving seamlessly in time with your inhalations and exhalations. Do this once a day.


Step 1

Lie on your back on the floor with your arms outstretched along the floor to either side at shoulder height. Lift your feet off the floor and bend your knees toward your chest.

Step 2

Exhale and lower both bent legs together toward the left. The outside of your left leg will be touching the floor, and your right leg will be stacked on top of your left.

Step 3

Turn your head to the right, and take five breaths while in this position.

Step 4

Inhale and raise both bent legs together back to the starting position. Exhale, turn your head to the left and lower both legs to the right. After five breaths, return to the starting position. Perform as many as you like on both sides. This is a highly relaxing exercise and an effective stretch for your lower back.

Step 5

Practice knees-to-side at the end of the day.

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