Exercise Ball Stretches For Upper & Lower Back

This is a series of exercises for the back with a exercise ball. These exercises will allow you to strengthen and soften the muscles of your back in order to keep your back strong, healthy, in good condition so you can be back pain free.

Back stretch with Exercise Ball #1: Pelvic Tilt

Sit on the ball and perform a classic pelvic tilt.

  1. Start in neutral position
  2. Do a posterior pelvic tilt, and keep it 10 secondes
  3. Now tilt your pelvis forward, keep it 10 second
  4. Let’s do 3 series of 15

While sitting on the ball, be sure to squeeze your abs and the muscles in your lower back and tilt your pelvis backwards and then forwards accordingly.

Think of this exercise as a version of the cat-and-cow stretch on a exercice ball.

Side note

Back stretch with Exercise Ball #2 The Plank

The Plank on Forearms exercise is one of the most effective exercises to build a lean, well-muscled body with great abs. It is a very challenging exercise for all the muscles involved: from the head to the tips of the toes, as well as the shoulders, the spine, the butt and the thighs, you want to stay straight and tight… like a plank.

Forearm plank exercise with fitness ball
Forearm plank exercise with fitness ball

1. Start position

Lie down on the ball by leaning on your forearms while remaining straight. All muscles must be engaged, especially the abs, shoulders and back of the thighs.

Plank exercise classic mistakes

Warning!

  • If the muscles are not tight enough, you will end up like a plank that is not really a plank. Not only will you lose all the benefits of the exercise, but you may also injure yourself, especially if you have a bad back

2. Plank exercise with a ball: step by step

  1. Start with your body in a straight position, all muscles engaged.
  2. Lift your right leg
  3. Put the leg down
  4. Lift your left leg
  5. Put the leg down

Avoid lifting the leg too far, as otherwise it is almost impossible for the body to remain fully upright.

Do 3 series of 10 (5 x left & 5 x right) relax for 30 seconds between each serie.

Warning if…

  • You suffer from low back pain: wait a few days until it goes away.
  • You have a herniated disc: the plank with a ball is a single leg stabilization exercise and is not recommended.
  • If you have degenerative disc disease, you can do this according to your pain level. If your pain level does not increase, you can do the exercise with caution.

Back stretch with Exercise Ball #3: The Bridge

1. Start Position

Start the exercise sitting on the ball and slide down, so as to form a bridge with your legs and have your back in total support of the ball.

Bridge Position on the Fitness ball.
Take the Bridge Position on the Fitness ball.
Make sure your neck has enough support.

The exercise consists of a series of contractions of the glutes and abs that will result in elevating the pelvis.

See how the pelvis lifts and the lower back comes off the ball as the gluteal muscles and abs are engaged simultaneously during the exercise.

  • Spread your knees when you squeeze your butts: this facilitates the process.
  • Keep your hands on your abs to make sure they stay engaged during the exercise.
  • The contraction of the glutes and abs should last 3 to 5 seconds
  • Do 4 series of 10

Warning if…

  • You suffer from low back pain: wait a few days until it goes away.
  • You have a herniated disc: the exercise is safe for you, still take it easy, don’t force it.
  • If you have degenerative disc disease: same thing: theexercise is safe, don’t force it.

Back stretch with Exercise Ball #4: Lower back extension

1. start position

Down flat on the ball. Use your toes to push against the floor: this will help you keep your balance.

Back stretch with Exercise Ball: start position
Back stretch with Exercise Ball: start position

2. Lift your upper body

Use your arms and lower back muscles to lift your upper body.

Stand straight using the muscles in your lower back
Stand straight using the muscles in your lower back
  • Inhale
  • Tighten your glutes and stomach to make good use of your back muscles.
  • Keep the position for 10 seconds
  • Exhale and relax
  • Do 3 series of 10, relax for 30 seconds between each serie

Take it up a notch

Variation of the back extension: without the hands
Variation of the back extension: without the hands

If you feel like it, you can do the exercise without using your hands: just put your fingertips on the back of your neck, do not apply fany orce.

Side note

  • The muscles of the back are supposed to do most of the work: the arms are only used to facilitate the movement.
  • If you have a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease: you can do the exercise but not the variation: use your hands to help and do not force it.
  • If you suffer from low back pain: wait a few days until it goes away.

Source: Vive Health / David Lee P.T.

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