5. Side Stretch
This stretch engages the abdominal and back muscles. You’ll feel the pull in the hip flexors and upper glutes as well.
- Stand tall with your back straight and your core engaged.
- Bring your arms above your head and press your palms together. Take a deep breath in.
- Bend laterally at the hip and slowly bring your upper body to the right side as you exhale.
- Hold for a few breaths and slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Hold the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. As you become more familiar with the movements, try to work your way up to holding for 1-2 minutes.
- If you already have pain in your lower back area, take care when performing the exercise. Adjust the stretch if necessary and do not over-stretch.
- Relax your muscles as much as you can. This allows for a deep stretch.
- Make sure you feel the stretch from the side of your torso.
6. Lower Abdominal Leg Lower
This pelvic exercise works the abs to strengthen their support of the hips and back. Keep a posterior pelvic tilt against the floor.
- Start lying on your back with both legs lifted straight in the air.
- Attempt to lower both legs down to the floor while keeping the knees straight until the lower back begins to arch off the ground.
- Only lower the legs as far as you can without the back lifting up.
- Return to the starting position and repeat for 2 sets of 20 repetitions.
7. Bridge with Leg Kicks
This exercise works the hamstrings and gluteus muscles. Keep the hips elevated and straight throughout to avoid strain on the back and engage the targeted muscles.
- Begin lying on your back with both knees bent.
- Lift your hips and lower abdomen into the air as high as you can, keeping your back straight.
- Once you are in this bridged position, kick one knee straight out and hold for 5 seconds.
- Lower that leg down and kick and hold with the opposite leg.
- After kicking with both legs return to the start position and repeat for 2 sets of 10.
8. The Pretzel Stretch
This mobility exercise strengthens the hip muscles, piriformis, lower back, glutes, and quadriceps, opening the shoulders as well. As you get comfortable, try different variations.
- Begin lying on one side with your knees bent up to hip height. Support your head with a foam pad.
- Throw the bottom leg back and hold the ankle with the arm closest to the ceiling. Use your other arm to grab the knee of your other leg.
- Twist your torso towards the ceiling while holding your knee to the ground.
- As you exhale, twist deeper into your stretch. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
- Repeat with the other side.