How to stretch your back: stretches for upper, middle and lower back

How to stretch your back

Outlines how to stretch your back with stretches for upper, middle and lower back to keep your back supple, strong and relaxed and relieve pain.

The good news: With simple, regular stretching exercises for your back, many back problems can be alleviated or eliminated. Muscles and ligaments need regular exercise in order to remain efficient. Constant underload due to a lack of exercise makes the structures of the musculoskeletal system wither away. And exercise also relieves stress as a result of psychological stress. Less stress also means more emotional resistance, also known as resilience. So knowing how to stretch back and doing physical exercises for back pain is a win-win strategy.

If you have severe or chronic back pain or even a current injury, you should of course consult a doctor before you start stretching and other exercises for back pain. How to lose back fat fast and safely: expert guide and tips

How to stretch your back: overview

Stretching exercises can make muscle tissue smoother. When fasciae stick together due to a lack of movement, the muscles lose mobility. Stretching basically increases blood flow, which leads to more mobility. Regular stretching of the back muscles also increases the length of the muscles. And that is extremely important, because: Constant sitting shortens the back muscles, which can lead to the typical complaints. How to fix back pain: 12 back pain remedies

When and how often should you do the stretches?

Stretching exercises for the back should always be done regularly, unless you are in severe pain and have illnesses such as a herniated disc . In such situations, you should first consult a specialist. Regular practice means several times a week. Ideally, you stretch your back every day, just a few minutes are enough.

Risks of stretching your back

Basically, stretching exercises should always be done carefully, slowly and carefully to minimize the risk of injury. The stretching should never cause pain, at most a slight stretching stimulus. Otherwise there may well be micro-tears in the muscles. The result: When scarring, the muscle can lose its elasticity. If there are previous illnesses, certain stretching exercises can be counterproductive – a doctor should be consulted beforehand in these situations. How to relieve back pain during pregnancy

How to stretch your back: simple floor stretch

  • Sit on your heels.
  • Let your head and shoulders hang forward, pull in your stomach (don’t forget to breathe), and rest your upper body on your thighs.
  • The forehead touches the ground, the neck is relaxed, the arms are loosely stretched out next to the legs.
  • Try to keep your butt on your heels.
  • Keep doing the exercise as long as you are comfortable.
  • Release the position by returning to the starting position with a rounded back.

The exercise relieves and stretches the entire spine. It also promotes deep abdominal breathing and relaxes the whole body.

How to stretch your upper back

Tension in the upper back and chest muscles can be prevented or relieved by regularly stretching your chest and back with this simple but effective exercise for how to stretch upper back. How to stop abdominal pain when running

  • Stand up in the basic position, your feet are a little wider than hip-width apart, your arms are loosely at your sides.
  • Take a deep breath and, as you exhale, bring your arms shoulder-width apart in front of your upper body.
  • Then, interlock your hands, turning your palms forward away from your face.
  • Briefly stretch your arms fully so that both shoulder blades pull forward out of the shoulder area.
  • At the same time as you cross your hands, you bend your neck and let your head hang down so that your chin pulls towards your sternum.
  • Then loosen your hands again and, as you inhale, move your arms almost completely straight back like wings at shoulder height until your chest opens and you feel a slight tension in the chest muscles.
  • Continue this sequence of movements in flowing movements.
  • Notes and tips
  • Therefore, make sure you have good body tension in the abdomen, back and buttocks muscles.
  • In the second or third round there is usually a little more possible! Always carry out the movement sequences when stretching, ie: go to the limits of your mobility – as far as it is just comfortable for you.

How to stretch middle back

How to stretch your back

You can stretch your middle back very well with the following standing exercise. That works even in everyday office life.

  • Inhaling, stretch your left arm upwards and, while exhaling, pull it slightly over your head to bend sideways to the right.
  • Hold this position for a few breaths.
  • Then get out of the position as you went in.
  • Now do the same with the other arm.

A classic from yoga is a great exercise for stretching the middle back: the rotating seat.

  • Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched. The upper body is straightened up.
  • Now place your left foot on the floor over your right knee.
  • The right arm wraps around the left knee.
  • Inhaling, raise your left arm and turn backward to the left as if to look behind your back.
  • As you exhale, lower your left arm and place your hand as close to your spine as possible so that you remain straight.
  • Take a few breaths in this swivel position.
  • Then, inhaling, raise your arm and come out of the pose.
  • Now do the same with the other side.

How to stretch your lower back

The lower back is the hardest to stretch properly. But regular stretching can help prevent tension and contraction in the lower back. Find out below which stretching exercises you can use to for how to stretch lower back and relax your lower back with ease.

Our lower back and sacrum are the fulcrum of all movements in our upper body. For example, when working at the desk for several hours, there is continuous pressure on our lower back. The strain on the vertebral joints and the intervertebral discs is particularly great when we sit with our back on our office chair. The problem is: The muscles are stressed very one-sided while sitting. If there is no athletic balance, then muscle wasting and ligament shortening often occur – tension and pain are the result.

What to look for when stretching your lower back

When it comes to how to stretch the lower back, it’s regularity that counts: you should take a few minutes each day to take the strain off your lower back. Only then can sustainable improvements occur.

  • Do you feel tension or pain while stretching? Slight pulling or the so-called “wellbeing” are completely normal during the stretching exercises – however, do not go to your pain threshold or beyond. This can damage the structures on the lower back.
  • Stretching does not make sense if the legs are feeling pain or numbness. You should always consult your doctor here before starting the exercises.
  • Overstretching (for example, by overstretching the spine – the so-called hollow back position) should be avoided at all costs: This can easily lead to overloading of the vertebral joints, ligament structures, intervertebral discs, vessels and nerve structures.

Good to know: The mobility of our spine is limited by bony and sinewy ligament structures. Each section of the spine has its own range of physiological range of motion. In the area of ​​the lumbar spine, this means: Rotation is only possible within ten degrees and a lateral inclination of up to 20 degrees – the lumbar spine has the greatest mobility in the forward and backward tilt. It is up to 30 degrees when stretching and up to 50 degrees when bending.

7 easy stretches for your lower back

You will need an exercise mat and towel for these exercises.

Lumbar stretch

  • Lie on a mat or on the carpet.
  • Bend your legs, feet stand up with flat soles.
  • The back lies relaxed and flat on the floor. Do not make a hollow back, but do not press your spine against the ground either.
  • Now put your hands around your shins and pull both knees to your chest.
  • The head, shoulders and upper back remain on the floor, the neck is relaxed. Y
  • ou will feel the stretch in the lumbar area.
  • Hold for about 30 seconds, do not rock, breathe calmly and evenly.

The posture stretches and relaxes the often shortened muscles in the lumbar region. It’s also great to do right after you wake up in bed.

Happy Baby

The Happy Baby Pose, as it is called in yoga, is similar. 

  • You start again in the supine position. 
  • Pull both knees towards your chest and now grasp your knees or even your feet with both hands. Caution: Your back stays on the floor as much as possible. 
  • Feel consciously into the individual vertebrae of the spine and enjoy the massage that the floor offers for free.

Cat hump

  • The starting position is the four-footed position: hands and knees are placed on the mat, the back forms a straight line. The head is held as an extension of the spine, the lower legs and feet are placed on the mat.
  • Tip: If your knees start to hurt, you can fold the towel and place it under your knees. This will reduce the pressure.
  • First hold the so-called middle position for three to four breaths: The back is horizontal – the cervical spine and rump form a straight line. Pay attention to tension in the shoulder girdle and lumbar spine.
  • The next time you exhale, push your back starting from your shoulders into the “cat hump position”. The thoracic spine forms the highest point, the shoulders and buttocks move towards the mat. Actively pull the belly button inward.
  • As you inhale, you release the tension in your stomach, actively straighten your lower back and pull yourself back to the starting position with tension in the upper back muscles and shoulders. Remain in this position for a breath or two.
  • Repeat the exercise sequence five to six times.

Stretching the hip flexors

The muscular opponents of the lower back are the hip flexors, in addition to the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. A shortening of these muscles is not uncommon: It is a typical phenomenon for people who sit a lot. The hours of flexion while sitting can lead to a shortening over a longer period of time – and you will notice this in your back.

  • The starting position is the supine position. The small towel can be used as a roll to support the squat.
  • Pull one of your legs towards your stomach and grip your knee.
  • Now slowly lower the other leg with your heel on the floor until it is in the extended position. (Towel roll under the knee)
  • Pull your toes up and actively extend the back of your knees into the floor / towel.
  • The bent leg is pulled further towards the body.
  • Important: The lower back lies flat on the floor – avoid a hollow back. If the tension is too great, you can regulate the stretch by applying pressure to the bent leg.


The starting position is the supine position. Put the folded towel on your side to pad your knees if necessary.

  • Stretch your arms out next to you at the sides of your body. The palms of the hands point to the ground.
  • Now pull your legs up (heels towards your buttocks). The knees are set up at an angle of 90 degrees.
  • Keep your feet close together, with your ankles touching each other if possible.
  • With the next exhalation, slowly lower your knees to the right side. Be careful not to drop your legs suddenly. The breathing remains completely relaxed.
  • Touching the knees on the floor is not a must. You should only move as far as you feel comfortable.
  • The shoulder girdle remains firmly on the ground. You can use your arms to stabilize your posture.
  • Hold the stretching position for three to four breaths, then slowly release.
  • Now the left side follows.

The package

The starting position is the seated squat. The buttocks are on your heels.

  • Gently rest your forehead on the floor. Use the towel to cushion your face.
  • Put your arms next to your body. The backs of the hands are on the mat, the palms of the hands facing up.
  • Feel the stretch in your lower back. Breathe deeply into your lower abdomen and back and hold the position for eight to ten breaths. Then slowly straighten yourself up again.

Mobilization while sitting

The starting position is the stable seat. The feet are firmly placed on the floor, the hands lie loosely on the thighs.

  • Sit on the front of the chair.
  • Now tilt the pelvis forwards and backwards – the back goes from the straight position to the “hollow back” position. Then straighten your pelvis, push the ischial bones forward and the lower back becomes rounded.
  • Adjust the movements to your breathing rhythm: inhale – straighten and stretch / exhale – keep your back rounded.
  • Repeat the sequence five to ten times.