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Hold back stretches for 20 to 30 seconds to achieve maximum benefits.
Sitting for long periods of time in the workplace can lead to a stiff back and tight and rounded shoulders. Fortunately, back stretches can relieve soreness and pain related to stiffness. To maintain the health and vitality of your spine, you should stretch your back in different directions. A stability ball is an effective prop for your stretching routine, enabling you to stretch more easily.
To stretch your upper back and iron out any kinks in your shoulder blades, perform a strength exercise that will lengthen your spine and open your shoulders. Stand and hold the ball against your stomach. Position your arms around the top of the ball, pressing the ball with your palms. On the inhalation, lift and lengthen your spine and contract your abs. Exhale and fold your trunk over the ball. Rounding your back, separate your shoulder blades. Keep your neck and head aligned with your back, so your face is positioned just above the top of the ball. You can also hold the ball at chest height. On the exhalation, curl forward and position your arms by your ears. Inhale to rise and straighten from the stretch.
To stretch the sides of your lower back and spine, perform trunk rotations. Hold the ball directly in front of you at chest height. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your spine elongated and chest open. Inhale and contract your abs. On the exhalation, rotate your trunk to the left, beginning at the bottom and extending the movement upward. At the same time, bring the ball to the left with your hands, keeping it at chest height. As you inhale, slowly return your torso and the ball to center. On the next exhalation, perform a rotation to the right. Repeat the left and right movements for one minute.
To increase the flexibility of your lower back, you can drape yourself over a stability ball. Begin by sitting on the ball, stepping your feet forward and rolling the ball until you're lying supine on top of it. With your back on top of the ball, fully extend your legs in front of you and your arms behind you. Slowly rotate your arms in large circles to loosen your shoulder joints. To stretch even more and strengthen your back extensors, place your hands on the floor and lift your hips. Perform a back bend, which will deepen the hyperextension of your back. Once you release the position, cradle your hands behind your head to support your neck. Step your feet back toward the ball, rolling back up to sitting position.
If your abdominals, buttocks and thigh muscles are weak, arching your lower back to stretch can be risky. You can squeeze or jam the discs in your spine as well as pinch spinal nerves. If you squeeze your glutes, it will relieve the stress on your lower back during a stretch. Avoid overstretching, which can do more harm than good. If your back muscles are too loose, your body will reverse course and tighten them up to compensate for any imbalance. When you use back stretches to improve your flexibility, increase the extent of the stretch incrementally over time.