Office workers and anybody who tends to sit a lot will find these exercises very helpful in alleviating problems and symptoms associated with prolonged sitting. If you are diagnosed with a spinal or back injury, consult with your doctor if these exercises are suitable for you.
The series so far:
- Exercise #1: Cat-Cow
- Exercise #2: Back Extension
- Exercise #3: Back Stretching
- Exercise #4: Heel Kick
- Exercise #5: Double Impact (you are here)
- Exercise #6: Swimming
- Exercise #7: Stomach Rolls
- Exercise #8: Diving Swan
Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoiding any injuries. For example, if you are out of shape and just starting out, it may take several weeks before you’ll feel comfortable of advancing to a follow-up exercise. Remember not to push yourself too hard, a smart stretch must be controlled, gentle and continuous.
Initial position. Lie on your stomach, putting your chin on mat. Bend your elbows and bring your hands behind your lower back. The hands should lie on the sacrum. Lift both legs approximately an inch (2-3 cm) from the mat. Straighten your knees and gently pull the toes.
- Vigorously bend your knees, trying to bring the heels towards the buttocks, as shown in the illustration;
- Lift the chest off the mat, straighten your arms at the elbows, turning the back of the hand towards the feet. Simultaneously, straighten your knees, trying to lift them as high as possible off the floor. Hold the position briefly then return to the initial position. Repeat 6 times.
Make Sure You:
- During the exercise the abdominal muscles should be stretched, to limit forward tilt of the pelvis;
- In the initial position, engage the extensor muscles of the hip to slightly lift the feet off the floor and pull the toes;
- When bending the legs in the intermediate position, the knees the knees should be detached from the mat. Keep the ankle and the toes extended;
- When the extensor muscles of the knees begin to extend the legs in the intended positon, pay attention to the thigh adductors, which should bring the legs together;
- When straightening the legs in the intended positon, lift slightly the chest from the mat, using the extensor muscles of the back. The spine should be bent uniformly over the entire length. At the same time, slightly lower the shoulder blades when raising the hands behind the back;
- Returning to the original position, tense the spine extensors to gradually lower the body to the mat and bend your elbows;
- Keep a mental image of your body as a bow tie, in which the hands perform the function of the string. The harder you pull your hands, the bigger the flexion of your back.
“Double Impact” is very similar to the previous ‘Heel Kick’ exercise. However, the fact that the hands are not used to support the body and the legs and back make more movements, makes this exercise more effective in increasing the back extensor muscles strength and endurance. Lifting both legs also creates an increased load on the abdominal muscles, which maintain the stability of the body. This exercise provides a good opportunity for dynamic stretching of the muscles and has positive effects on your posture.
To avoid hyperextension of the neck, you can begin the exercise not with the chin on the mat, but one of the cheeks. When you start to flex the back, turn your head so that it formed a single line with the spine. When lowering the torso, turn the other cheek to the mat.