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Physical Fitness Tips - How Can I Improve My Back's Flexibility And Strength?

Aug 18, 2007
People who have suffered from back problems and injuries realize how vital the back is to ones everyday functioning and body. Even a simple activity like squeezing a ball which might appear to involve just the fingers and the muscles of the forearm actually involve the latissimus dorsi along with other back muscles as well.The Latissimus Dorsi are the large, flat, dorso-lateral muscles in the trunk that connect the upper extremity to the vertebral column.

It might seem unbelievable but if you actually squeeze the ball yourself, you will feel a tensing of the muscles on the side of the arm you use.This is particularly noticeable if one is experiencing back pain.

Strong back muscles are essential for any sport as it helps in speed and coordination,balancing the body,movement and provides support for limbs to work in coordination.

Given below are some simple exercises that will help strengthen the back muscles.It is always advisable to do them on a firm surface but make sure it isn't too hard as otherwise it might cause undue pain or pressure on the bony parts of the body.

Knee to Chest :-

Lie on your back.Clasp your hands behind one thigh and slowly pull it towards your chest while keeping the other leg flat on the ground in front of you.Vary the action by flexing the ankle first by pointing it towards the toe and then by pulling it back toward the knee simultaneously while stretching your leg.Hold this position for around 5 seconds and then alternate legs and repeat this exercise around 10 times.

Rotations :-

Lie back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent.Extend your hands on either side and make sure you place your palms flat on the floor.Now lift your feet off the ground slowly and gently rotate your trunk by moving your knee slightly to the right and then to the left.Once your body becomes more supple then you can increase the range of this exercise as the goal should be to touch your knee to the floor.

Alternate the action by crossing your arms over your chest, and then repeat.

Pelvic Press :-

Lie down on your back, knees raised and feet flat on the floor. Push the small of the back into the floor, so that you can feel the muscles in the lower abdominal getting stretched. Vary the action by moving your feet together first and then slightly apart before repeating the exercise.

Pelvic Lift :-

Lie down on your back, knees raised and feet flat on the ground, arms crossed over your chest. Keeping the legs and knees together, raise the buttocks up slightly and hold for 5 seconds. Lower slowly, count to two, then repeat.

It is important to breathe in and out normally while doing these exercises .

Dog Stretches :-

Go down on all fours, raise your head so that your eyes are looking forward. Lower your arms and arch your back, hold 2 seconds, then go back to the original position. Slowly extend one leg, as near parallel to the floor as you can. Hold 3 seconds, then put the leg back into starting position.Switch legs and repeat. Vary the exercise by extending the leg with toe pointed, then flex the ankle perpendicular to the leg. Hold for 2 seconds and repeat. Do 10 reps for each leg.

Although mild discomfort due to inactivity is to be expected while exercising, if you find that it is causing pain to any region of the back,hip or leg stop immediately and consult a physician.
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