woman doing yoga stretching

Discover The Best Lower Back Stretches to Boost Flexibility

While there are many ways to start developing your flexibility, it’s a good idea to start with back stretches. Not only will these exercises slowly boost your overall flexibility but they can improve your posture, and subsequently prevent back and neck pain. Gaining flexibility takes practice but it’s a great way to maintain mobility as we age and anyone can do it! Yoga is one common activity that encourages stretching, and a great example of how consistent, everyday stretching can be extremely beneficial. Whether you’re suffering from a stiff back, or just looking to loosen up, here are the best lower back stretches you can do to start to improve your flexibility! 

Stretch 1: Downward Dog To Cobra 


Start in a downward-facing dog pose with your hands and feet flat on the ground, hips raised so that your body forms a 90-degree angle at your hips and a roughly 45-degree angle to the floor at your hands and feet. Inhale. From this starting position, exhale and with your hands remaining on the floor on either side of you, slowly move your weight forward, lower your elbows to a more acute angle,  and swoop forward while dropping your hips to the floor. Lift your toes and press the tops of your feet and your hips down against the floor. Inhale arch your back so that your head is pointing as far as you can towards the ceiling contract your back muscles as you reach upward into a gentle stretch. Exhale. 

The downward dog to cobra sequence is one of the first sequences that many yogis teach to new students due to its ease and timeless utility. The move demonstrates straightened back posture, in the downward dog pose, and then gently moves into an arched back position, stretching the core muscles surrounding the spine. This movement is great for building core strength and flexibility in the back. 

Stretch 2: Double Knee to Chest 


Begin the stretch by lying on your back with your arms and legs flat on the ground. Bend your knees into an acute angle lifting your hips slightly from the ground as you do. Wrap your hands around each knee as you lift it towards you. Hug both knees with both hands and pull them up to your chest. You should feel a stretch in your upper back. Some people prefer to use one leg at a time. 

The Double Knee to Chest stretch is one of the simplest ways to stretch your lower back and hip flexor muscles that are rarely mobilized in daily life. Not only can this stretch help build flexibility in the back, but it’s also a great beginner strengthening exercise for the core if you let your legs back down slowly. 

Stretch 3: Child’s Pose 


To begin, kneel down on the floor and shift your weight backward so that your buttocks are resting on your feet and your shins and knees are resting flat on the floor. Lean forward, leaving your buttocks on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor. You should feel a very gentle stretch in your back. Reach your arms out in front of you, deepening the stretch, and rest them, palms flat, facing down on the floor. Take at least 8 breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly, feeling the stretch in your back.

The child’s pose is a very simple, passive yoga pose that many people like to rest in for long periods of time. This stretch is effective because it lengthens the spine, and stretches the dorsal muscles of the back. This move can help you develop flexibility in your entire back and shoulder blades. 

Stretch 4: Seated Spinal Twist 


The seated spinal twist is an easy rotational stretch for the lower back. Start by sitting flat on the floor, with your legs stretched out directly in front of you and your arms at your sides. Place your palms on the floor behind you with your fingers facing right and left away from you. Cross your right foot over your left leg and place it flat on the ground on the left side of your left knee. Inhale and exhale as you bring your right arm up and across and place your elbow on the inside of your right knee. Turn your body, head, and gaze to the left, pressing with your elbow to deepen the stretch. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Breathe. Slowly bring your head first and then your chest back to the center. Repeat on the other side. 

The seated spinal twist is a fantastic way to bring rotational mobility into the lumbar region of the back. Not only does this stretch help build flexibility and take pressure off the lower back, but some people feel their vertebrae realign when they perform it.




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