Exercises to Improve Your Posture and Bring Relief to Your Back & Spine, Part 7

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
  • Exercise #6: Swimming
  • Exercise #7: Stomach Rolls (you are here)
  • Exercise #8: Diving Swan

Please make sure to start from the 1 exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoid 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.

Stomach Rolls

Stomach-Rolls

Initial position. Lie on your stomach, bend your knees and bring them on your hip. Take hold of the feet with your hands, as shown in the figure. Now, lift the head, chest and knees on the mat.

  • Breathing in, roll forward onto your belly, as shown in the figure;
  • Breathing out, roll in the opposite direction, from your stomach to the pelvis. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

Make Sure You:

  • During the exercise use the abdominal muscles to maintain stability of the spine and limit forward tilt of the pelvis to prevent pain in the lumbar spine;
  • In the initial position, use the spine extensor muscles to lift the chest, and the leg extensor muscles to raise the knees off the mat. Simultaneously, extensor muscles of the knee try to straighten the legs by overcoming the resistance of hands, which also helps to raise the upper torso;
  • To begin rolling forward use the leg extensor muscles in the hips, which are raised slightly above the knees, as well as the arm extensor muscles in the shoulders, to pull the feet slightly forward;
  • When rolling onto the pelvis, the feet are lowered and retracted due to hard work of the spine extensor muscles, which tend to raise your upper body against the force of gravity;
  • During the exercise, maintain a mental image of the head, torso and hips in the form of a rocking chair. When the chair is tipped forwards, the weight is transferred to the front (the upper part of the chest) and the rear portion (thighs) is removed from the floor. Conversely, when the chair leans back, the weight is transferred to the rear parts (thighs), and the front (chest) rises.

Additional Notes

The exercise is aimed at maintaining an unchanged the position of the body as it moves through space. Sustaining the body in this position requires the interaction of many muscles, including spine and leg extensors. It is also necessary to involve the abdominal muscles to lift the excessive load of the lumbar spine, as we learned throughout these series. This exercise should be performed only after you have mastered the previous exercises we elaborated previously. Even if you did a technically correct execution, the degree of hyperextension of the spine may be too high for some people. Although we use the exercise to strengthen the spinal extensor muscles and improve stability, it should be avoided if you are experiencing discomfort in the lower back or have certain medical conditions. As an added benefit, the exercise performs dynamic stretching of the flexor muscles of the shoulders, hip and spine.

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