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Lower stretches, such as the leg hug, bridge, or snake position exercises, help to relax the muscles, strengthen the muscles of the back, legs, hips, and abs, improving mobility and flexibility, and helping to correct posture, prevent injuries and relieve lower back pain.
Stretches can be performed first thing in the morning, during a break from work, to relieve muscle tension, or at night, at bedtime, to go to sleep more relaxed, respecting the body's limits so as not to cause pain or discomfort in the lower back.
These exercises should not be performed by people who have an injury or severe pain in the lumbar region or who have recently undergone surgery..
How to do lumbar stretches
Lumbar stretches can be performed lying on a gym mat or floor, or standing. The ideal is to consult the physical educator or physiotherapist before starting the stretching exercises to perform them correctly and avoid the appearance of injuries.
Some options for lower back stretches are:
1. Thigh Stretch
The thigh stretch allows you to stretch the muscle at the back of the thigh, in addition to the calf and foot, helping to strengthen the leg muscles and reduce pressure on the lower back.
How to: Lie on your back, leaving your legs and arms straight for about 10 seconds. Then bend one leg and keep the other straight. Raise the straight leg, with the help of a supported towel, a belt or an elastic band, at the base of the foot and bring the straight leg as far as possible towards the chest, maintaining this position for about 30 seconds and repeat the same with the other leg.
2. Hug the leg
The leg hug should be done lying down, allowing you to stretch the lower back muscles, in addition to the gluteus and thighs, improving flexibility and increasing the range of motion.
How to: Lie on your back and bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor, or leaving one leg straight. With the help of your hands, bring one knee towards your chest, holding this position for about 15 seconds. Do the same with the other leg, repeating the movement 2 times on each leg.
3. Butterfly Pose
The butterfly pose allows you to stretch the muscles of the back and legs, and relieve tension in the lower back. However, this stretch should not be done if the person has severe lower back pain or knee pain.
How to: Lie on your back and bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor. Move your knees slightly outward, turning your feet so that you can bring the soles of your feet together, moving your knees as far apart as you can, and hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 5 times. This position may cause slight discomfort, however, if the person feels pain, avoid pulling the knees so far apart.
The bridge helps to stabilize and strengthen the core muscles that support and stabilize the spine, working the lower back, glutes, hips and abs.
How to: Lie on your back, arms in line with your body, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor with your heels in line with your knee. Squeeze your abs and glutes and lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your head. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds and lower your hips. Relax and repeat the exercise 5 times.
5. Serpent Position
The snake position allows you to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your lower back, helping to prevent lower back pain.
How to: Lie on your stomach, stretching your feet, keeping them aligned with your spine. Place your palms on the floor at chest height and stretch your arms, pushing the floor and lifting your torso up. Keep your arms straight, always looking straight ahead and with your neck parallel to the floor. During this stretch it is important to keep your hips and abs tight. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times.
The superman exercise simulates the superman flight position and works to strengthen the lower back, in addition to the muscles of the abdomen, glutes, hips, hamstrings and shoulders, improving posture and flexibility.
How to: Lie on the floor with your stomach down, legs straight, arms extended above your head and palms facing down. Contract the abdomen, glutes and lumbar spine. Raise your arms and legs back, as if you were going to fly. It is important that the head is in line with the spine and therefore it is important to keep your eyes on the floor. In addition, the elevation of the legs and arms must not exceed 20 cm from the floor. Hold this position for 2 to 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
7. Cat pose
The Cat Pose allows you to stretch the muscles of the back, hips, abdomen and chest, improving the flexibility of the lumbar spine, in addition to the neck and shoulders.
How to: on the floor, get into a 4-point position, with your knees hip-width apart and your wrists in line with your shoulders. Arch your back like a cat, inhaling and looking up. As you exhale, move your back up, bending it over and looking down towards your navel. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and return to the starting position and repeat the movement 2 to 4 times.
8. Hip rotation
Rotation of the hips improves flexibility of the spine and hips, reduces stiffness and gives more stability to the body.
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your waist. Slowly rotate your hips to the left, front and right and back and repeat again. Then repeat the movements in the opposite direction, to the right, front, left and back. Repeat the movement in both directions 2 times.