Here are 3 simple active stretches to help warm up the back.
Perform each movement for 30-60 seconds, or until you feel your back loosen up.
- Cat-Cow: Set up on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees and feet hip width apart, neutral spine. Inhale to Cow, gently bracing your core as you soften the ribs towards the floor, scooping your head, heart and tail to the sky. Exhale to Cat, drawing the naval in and lift the spine towards the sky, dropping your head – chin to chest, tucking your tailbone. Repeat, flowing with your breath.
- Bird Dog: Set up on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees and feet hip width apart, neutral spine. Bracing your core, extend and lift one leg while simultaneously raising and extending the contralateral (opposite) arm. Aim to hold the position for 3 seconds with hips squared and shoulders parallel to the floor. Alternating sides, repeat this movement 15-20 times.
- Downward-facing Dog: Set up on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees and feet hip width apart, neutral spine. Brace your core. Pressing the hands firmly on the floor, slowly straighten your legs, lifting the tailbone toward the sky. You can pedal the legs as you see necessary, for your hamstrings to loosen up. Allow your shoulders to relax, melting away from the ears. Push heals towards the floor to intensify the stretch down the back of your legs.
Be sure to intentionally engage your core throughout all these movements, breathe deeply, and ALWAYS work within YOUR pain free range.