With so many people complaining about back stiffness, you would think back stretches and other remedies would be common knowledge; however, they are not. Unfortunately many people simply do not know the value of back stretches or how easy it is to relieve back stiffness. By following some common sense guidelines, you can relieve your back stiffness and increase your back strength.
Here are some things you should know about how to stretch your back:
• Understand how essential it is to stretch your back. Though they are essential for back flexibility and injury prevention especially before weight training workouts, even athletes overlook back stretches. Many fitness experts agree that stretching the back is one of the most overlooked facets of sports, workouts and life. Back stretches are an important part of avoiding sports injuries, improving athletic performance and alleviating muscle and joint pain. Back stretches also reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout. Correctly stretching your back can reduce back pain and lower the risk of back injuries. Tense back muscles are more susceptible to injury.
• Know when to stretch. Experts recommend stretching the back before and after workouts. Back muscles respond very well to stretches in between workouts.
• Stretch your back often. Experts also recommend stretching your back every day as part of your overall body stretching. You need not, nor should you, reserve back stretches for the days when you train your back.
• Understand why you should stretch your back. Remember that the purpose of stretching the back is to increase flexibility. Do not stretch your back too much. There are many different pieces of equipment made specifically for stretching the back. If you are not experiencing back pain and not undergoing back rehabilitation, a few simple back stretches are enough to maintain and increase your back flexibility.
Now that you know the guidelines for stretching the back to relieve stiffness, here are some specific back stretches.
• Neck Rolls – This is a good way to relieve stiffness and begin your back stretching routine. Begin by simply rolling your neck front to back and side to side. Make sure that you go slowly and carefully to prevent injury.
• Side Bends – Standing and facing straight ahead, with your hands at your sides and your feet shoulder width apart, bend to one side, being careful not to learn or bend forward, so you feel the stretch in your side. Come back to standing and repeat on the other side.
• Chin up or Hanging stretch – Reach up like you are doing a chin-up and let your body weight stretch your back for you. You can do this after performing chin-ups as you normally would but at the end hold the bottom position for 15-20 seconds. This will stretch you upper back and whole upper body.
• Forward Bends – This stretch can be done from a seated or standing position. Simply bend forward from the waist and allow gravity to use your body weight to stretch your back. Do not cave in; keep a slightly rounded back to accentuate the stretch.
• Bridge Stretch – This stretch works best when using an exercise ball but can be done from a weight bench or even the end of your bed. Supporting your upper body on the ball extend your legs like a bridge. After 1 minute relax your back muscles from the stretch by either sliding backwards over the ball or onto the bench or bed.