Williams Flexion Back Exercises

Side view of worker with backache while lifting box in the warehouse
Lifting with poor technique can cause back pain. (Image: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images)

Back pain is very common. In fact, according to a study published in 2014 by "BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders," 80% of people will have back pain in their lifetime. The goods news is, there are many effective treatments for back pain that don't require surgery or medications.

Williams flexion exercises are one type of treatment for back pain. These exercises focus on a bending movement in your lower back. Williams flexion exercises are made up of seven movements: pelvic tilt, single knee to chest, double knee to chest, partial sit-up, hamstring stretch, hip flexor stretch and squat.

Some back conditions can be aggravated by this movement. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your back pain before attempting flexion exercises.

Image of fit young woman relaxing on yoga mat. Female lying on floor - Savasana
Pelvic tilts can be performed on any firm surface. (Image: jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images)

Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilt exercises strengthen muscles that support your low back.

Step 1

Lie on your back on a firm surface. Bend your knees and rest your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms next to your sides.

Step 2

Press your lower back into the ground as if you are pulling your bellybutton back toward your spine. The muscles in the lower half of your abdomen should be tight. Do not hold your breath.

Step 3

Hold the pelvic tilt for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat up to 15 times.

Girl pulled her knees up to her chest while lying on the floor. Concept: lifestyle, fitness, aerobics and health.
Single and double knee to chest stretches can be performed without changing your starting position. (Image: AlexShalamov/iStock/Getty Images)

Knee to Chest Stretches

Knee to chest stretches improve flexibility in your low back.

Step 1

Lie on your back on a firm surface. Bend one leg and bring your knee in toward your chest.

Step 2

Reach around your knee with both hands and gently pull your knee in closer to your body. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat this stretch up to 15 times on each leg.

Step 3

Perform the double knee to chest stretch by bringing both knees toward your chest at the same time. Gently pull them in closer using your arms. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat up to 15 times.

Step by step instructions for abs: Lie flat on your back and place your hands behind your head. Bend your knees and firmly plant your feet on the floor. This is your starting position. (A)With your elbows flared, tighten your abs, and lift your shoulders and upper back off of the floor. Hold at the top for a second and then retract back down to starting position. (B)
Partial sit-ups are sometimes called crunches. (Image: blanaru/iStock/Getty Images)

Partial Sit-Ups

Partial sit-ups strengthen the upper and lower abdominal muscles at the same time.

Step 1

First, perform a pelvic tilt. Place your hands behind your head to support your neck.

Step 2

Keeping your pelvis tilted, tighten your upper abdominal muscles and lift your shoulder blades up off the ground. Do not pull on your neck- your arms are only there to support the weight of your head. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat up to 15 times.

Single gorgeous woman in pink and black outfit doing hamstring stretch over white background with set down shadow
Stretch one leg at a time if it is too difficult to sit with both legs straight out in front of you. (Image: mheim3011/iStock/Getty Images)

Hamstring Stretch

The hamstring stretch improves flexibility of the muscles along the back of your thighs.

Step 1

Sit with both legs out in front of you. Keep your knees straight and toes pointed toward the ceiling.

Step 2

Reach forward toward your toes with both hands until you feel a stretch along the back of your legs.

Step 3

Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat up to 10 times.

Athlete male runner stretching outdoors. Lizard lunge. Forward lunge elbow to instep.
Stretch next to a firm surface if you have difficulty balancing during the hip flexor stretch. (Image: ninikas/iStock/Getty Images)

Hip Flexor Stretch

The hip flexor muscles are located at the front of your hips. These muscles are often tight, particularly if you sit a lot during the day.

Step 1

To stretch your right hip flexors, step your left foot out approximately two feet in front of you. Keep your right knee straight and bend your left knee.

Step 2

Bend forward over your left knee until your left armpit is resting on your knee. Place your hands on the ground in front of you to help maintain your balance.

Step 3

Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat up to 10 times. Switch legs to stretch your left hip flexors.

Side view of young woman in sportswear doing squat and holding dumbbells while standing in front of window at gym
Limit your squat depth if you have pain in your knees. (Image: g-stockstudio/iStock/Getty Images)

Squat

The squat exercise strengthens muscles in your hips. Perform this exercise near a sturdy surface if you have difficulty with your balance.

Step 1

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Looking straight ahead, squat down as far as you can while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Hold your arms out in front of you to improve your balance.

Step 2

Hold this position for 5 seconds, then stand back up. Repeat up to 10 times.

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