A loose profile can help you get ready for the day’s training session. A great area to begin with is your lower back. According to Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network, there are two key movements you can perform to help achieve a looser lower back: cat-cow and the pretzel stretch.
The first movement, called the cat-cow, is a simple, popular yoga pose. Place yourself on all fours with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Breathe out and round your back, making yourself look like an angry, hissing Halloween cat. Velasquez then says to tuck your chin into your chest and round your back. Next, proceed into your cow position by sagging your back and taking your head position to the ceiling. Coordinate your breathing with your movements.
From your cow position, exhale and transition again into your cat pose. Repeat this cat-cow movement for about eight to 10 repetitions before moving forward.
THE PRETZEL STRETCH
Your next movement-based exercise is what Velasquez calls “the pretzel stretch.” This stretch begins lying on the ground with your knees bent out in front of you, feet shoulder-width apart. Take your right foot and place it over your left knee to serve as the first cross in your pretzel. Next, according to Velasquez, take your left hand to your right ankle and your right hand to your left ankle. This should turn you into a bit of a pretzel.
Once you’ve got your arms and legs situated, rock yourself back and forth. This is intended to help stretch your piriformis muscle. Velasquez explains the piriformis muscle runs through your butt cheek and over the sciatic nerve. It’s important to stretch this area to help prevent symptoms such as weakness.
After a few rocks back and forth, you can change your footing to target your other side. Place your left foot over your right knee, followed by the hand-to-ankle grip like before.
With your lower back mobile, you can focus on getting other areas of your body, such as your thoracic spine (Link), moving.