Exercises to stretch and elongate the muscles of your back reduce tension and increase flexibility. By doing exercises that work to stretch your back, the muscles must lengthen and relax to allow for a stretch. You might not grow several inches in height from doing back stretching exercises but, over time and with consistent exercise, you may experience better posture and less pain or discomfort caused by muscle tension or stress.
Back Lengthening Stretch
The back lengthening stretch is an exercise done lying on your back. All the muscles of your back are lengthened doing this exercise. To do this exercise, lie face up on the floor with your legs straight. Lift your arms over your head and place them on the floor with your palms face up. Stretch your arms as far as you can. Extend and stretch your legs as far away as you can, then lengthen your right side. Stretch your left side. Hold each for 10 to 30 seconds.
Latissimus Dorsi Stretch
The latissimus dorsi muscles or the lats are are located in the middle of your back. They form a V-shape from the upper to the middle part of the back that can be seen on people with developed lats and a low body fat percentage. The lats can be stretched and lengthened using a stability ball. To do the lat stretching exercise, kneel on the floor with a ball in front of you. Place your left hand on the floor and the right hand on the top of a ball. Turn your right hand so your thumb is on top and your palm faces inwards. Straighten both of your arms. Line your knees up with your hips and flatten your back so it is parallel to the floor. Roll the ball forward to lengthen your back. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the left side.
The chair stretch targets your lower back. The chair stretch can be done seated in a chair, on a stool, on a bench or even on a couch as long as you can touch the floor with your feet when your knees are bent. To begin the exercise, sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Begin by sitting up tall and then round your back and slowly curl your body one vertebra at a time toward the floor. Reach for your feet or the floor next to them with your hands. Continue all the way down until your stomach rests on your thighs. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and then slowly curl one vertebra at a time back up until you are sitting up again.
About this Author
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.