Anonymous: Hey, I know that you've answered tons of questions on back flexibility, but I was wondering if you knew any stretches for arching your back that don't involve your head being upside down? I don't know if these exist but every time I do a bridge I can only hold it for a few seconds before my blood rushes to my head and I get super dizzy. Not sure if you can help, thanks either way. :) x
Hi! Do not fear, there are tons of stretches you can do that won’t make you dizzy for your back.
Here are some:
Be careful of your neck when you do this though, try not to squish it and adjust so it’s comfortable.
Tear drop stretch:
Work on pulling your feet either higher up or closer to your head like this:
Yoga cat poses:
The superman exercise will help you build up back strength too:
Spinal twists are always good for general back happiness!
Also, depending on how flexible your legs are, doing things like scorpions and wall stretches like this will definitely stretch your back too:
Make sure you lean backwards to increase the stretch.
I hope that you find some of these stretches effective!
: Hi, I've been trying to work on my back flexibility for a while now and I've recently been told that it's my stomach and not my back preventing me from being bendier. This is really frustrating as I'm not sure what I can do to improve this? do you have any suggestions on exercises that will release my stomach and stop it being so tight? thankyou.
First off, mostly when you’re stretching your back, you will also be stretching your front too. If you think about someone doing a backbend, their front is stretched out hugely. For this reason most stretches for back flexibility will also stretch out your front. But it’s not always easy to gain flexibility because, unlike stretching your hamstrings for example, there are all sorts of things going on around your stomach like your liver and your kidneys!
You may find the yoga camel pose gives you more of a front rather than back stretch. It looks like this:
Other than that I suggest that you experiment with different back flexibility exercises like bridge and cobra - you will probably find that some of them you feel in your front more than others. Then you can add these to your stretching routine. Best of luck and sorry that I couldn’t offer a simpler solution!
: Hi! I'm a dancer, I've taken classical ballet for over 12 years, but I've never been very flexible in my back at all. part of it is just I'm not a naturally flexible person, and to get where I am in ballet has taken lots of hard work, but every time I do any kind of basic back stretches, the muscles in my mid-to-lower back cramp like crazy. it's so painful, I don't want to pull anything, and I've been working hard to gain back flexibility for years, but this problem keeps coming up! Help?
Considering you’ve been having this problem for some time, I really recommend that you see a professional who can examine you properly in person. Your ballet teacher may have someone who they recommend, if not you could go to your usual doctor and they can refer you. I’ve had really great experiences with my osteopath so you could see if there is one in your area.
Really sorry I couldn’t be more help, but I definitely do not want to give you advice and then find that you have a different problem and get injured anymore!
I hope that you get to the bottom of this :(
: Hi :D I'm a skater and I have a huge issue, I am not flexible, I bend as much as a goat would. I'm already working on my splits (8 inches until im down on my left!!!) and my back flexibility used to be amazing. I am a former rythmic gymnast but I lost all my flexibility... And, I have severe scoliosis, what are some not as painful back stretches?
Hi! I had a friend with scoliosis so I understand how much it can affect you :( If you used to have good flexibility in your back then I’m assuming that your doc has said it’s ok that you work on back flexibility? It’s always good to check :)
In terms of stretches, I’m not sure what you’re doing at the moment but there are lots of ways to lower the intensity of a stretch. For example, a strong back stretch would be to lie on your front, grab your ankles and reach then up and to your head. A lower intensity version would be to lie on your front, bend your knees up, push your body up with your hands and lean back (hope that makes sense).
You can try bridges but don’t walk your hands in as far. You could also try doing cambres (ballet)
All you have to do is find a bar or a table you can hold onto and create the curve in your lower back as in the photo. It helps if you do it in the mirror. Now the good thing about these is that you only have to go as far as is comfortable. If you find it super hard to do then you don’t have to create much curve to feel you’re stretching.
I also recommend you try doing some yoga. There are lots of youtube videos with instructors just specifically for your back so you might want to check them out. There are lots of articles and websites online too about yoga and pilates for scoliosis like this this one so check some out!
I hope that some of this helps and you find a way round this! :D
hey can you give me some advise on getting a bendier back and what kind of stretches i could do?! My passion is ballet and contemporary. — to-love-and-be-loved-in-return
Hi! For your back, there are lots of stretches you can try including bridge, cobra and the bow pose. I have made a post on how to get a bendier back here which I think will answer your question! There are more tips on my Q&A page about backs.
Be very careful when stretching your back, take your time and don’t push yourself too far. Often dancers and gymnasts with extreme back flexibility find themselves with back problems in the future, if in doubt, visit a professional.
I hope these links help - if not, feel free to message again!
Anonymous: What are some beginning steps to improving back flexibility? I'm a figure skater and layback spins and ina bauers feel a long way away.
Well I’d say the first step is to commit to stretching your back pretty much everyday.
You can start fairly basically, with stretches such as the cobra and doing bridges.
You can then start a longer stretching routine for your back. Work on straightening out your legs in your bridge, and you can also try the Bow pose (yoga). I also suggest look up cambre - a movement in ballet similar to a layback. It may also help you to work your Biellmann/scorpion as this requires back flexibility and will also help your leg flexibility for your spirals!
I have explained these stretches here, (How to stretch - Back flexibility) and given some other tips for backs such as counteracting. There are also some other tips on my back Q&A page!
Finally, I suggest you practice just bending back as you would for a layback/ina bauer. You may want to hold onto a bar and try it, whatever - just do lots! (When you’re doing them, it may help to wear tight clothing so you can see the bend in your back and check you’re not all wonky by accident!)
When stretching your back, it’s more important than ever that you take it slow and do not push yourself too far - you back is very special!!! Don’t hurt it!
Good luck - I hope you manage to increase your back flexibility!
Anonymous: Stretches to reach ultimate back flexibility?
Extreme back flexibility can’t be achieved doing specific stretches, it will just involve stretching your back using normal back stretches, but working harder and for a longer period of time. Ideal back stretches are explained here and there are a few others here too.
You should be extra careful with stretching your back because it’s prone to injury as it is and you don’t want to cause yourself lots of problems as you get older by over stretching your back. Extreme back flexibility takes a lot of time and is quite risky, so please be careful but I hope those stretches help you get a more flexible back!
: Okay, so first of all, I loveee your blog! It makes me wanna stretch haha. Anyways, Im a dancer and I really wanna gain some more back flexibility! So any tips/pointers on mainly upper back flexibility? My lower back is already pretty good I can walk my hands far enough back in a backbend to see my feet but I feel it would really help if my upper back was more bendy! Lol. Thanks in advance!(:
Thank you so much - and wow I’m jealous of your back bend!
The stretches I use for my upper back include shoulder stretches too, and they are explained really well in this forum. The stretches explained are really helpful and there are pictures to help you out too.
I hope this helps you out!
Anonymous: Hello! I'm working on back flexibility but have too little upper arm strength to push myself into the bridge pose (yeah I know, sad right?). Do you have any suggestions for either strengthening my arms or alternative stretches? Thank you! :)
Aw no that’s ok! There are plenty of other great stretches you can do that don’t require any strength. But if you really do want to strengthen your arms there are loooooads of bicep exercises you can do - but you’ll probably need weights (or maybe heavy water bottles/tins etc).
There are lots of other back stretches you can try, like the cobra pose and the bow pose. Also one of the back stretches I like to do is pulling your foot up to your head with a band while lying on your front. These alternative stretches are explained here.
Another thing that may really help is to practice going into the bridge but using a wall to ‘walk down’ with your hands. This means you don’t have to push yourself up into the bridge but you still get the benefits of the position.
Hope this helps!
Anonymous: I took a 4 years off, to get my school work in order, and I recently got back to skating and I need my flexibility to get back my Biellmann spin and Layback. Any tips?
Both Biellmanns and Laybacks require back flexibility. I’ve posted some helpful back stretches here which I’m sure will help you. Another tip for laybacks is to do loads of cambres (ballet) just randomly while you’re at home!
For your Biellmann, you will need your splits as well as back flexibility. A good stretch is to go into your splits and then lean back like this (sorry about picture quality). You can also practice biellmanns using a band to pull your foot up if you can’t to it yet.
Finally, practice doing catch-foot spirals and then lifting your leg higher and higher like a biellmann. You might also benefit from practicing them on ice as they have a similar feel to biellmanns.
I hope this is helpful, good luck with your skating.