This stretch is an old favorite, just like the sweatpants I have on in the photos. I’ve suggesting this stretch to several clients and friends lately so I thought I’d add it here.
Firstly, most adults do not like to get down on the floor. There are many benefits to getting on the floor and it is the safest place to exercise. You can’t fall down! Look at the act of getting on the floor as part of your exercise. It makes so much of your body move it ways it needs to in order to stay healthy. Here’s another pro tip. Keep a mat set up somewhere in your home so you always have an easy and clean place to get on the floor. Keep a chair next to it so you can use it to get up if necessary.
This stretch opens the space between the ribs and the hips. The big quadratus luborum muscle, as well as many other muscles and the surrounding fascia are being stretched. Follow the link for a picture of the anatomy if you like. This stretch will help to take the tension out of this space and take the pressure off the spine and associated nerves. This can help to relieve that stiff and tweaky feeling in the low back.
Here’s how. Pay attention to the details. They matter!
- Stretch the side that has more symptoms first. If the symptoms are equal, start with either side. Always do both sides. Sit as shown in the first photo.
- Come down onto the elbow as shown. While keeping your lower hip in place on the floor, roll your top hip toward your head so that your hips are stacked vertically as shown by the green arrow. You may not be able to completely stack them until you reduce the tension as you practice the stretch.
- Slowly straighten your lower leg. Press the heel away from you as shown in photo 3.
- Bring the top knee forward and towards the floor. Pay attention to how this affects the sensation you feel. If it is too intense, back off. Allow the shoulder to gently move up toward the ear. This will add slightly more stretch to the ribcage.
- Move your top arm and shoulder forward or back to determine where you feel the best stretch in your body.
- Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 slow breaths.
- Repeat on the other side. Always do both sides. Hold the side that is more symptomatic slightly longer.
- Advanced option: To reach even deeper into the side body is to place a ball or half-roll between your body and the floor. The ball should be placed between the lower rib and the hip. Follow the myofascial principles when using this technique.
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It’s your move!