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Flexible back exercises
Flexible back exercises

A healthy back should bend and twist without problems. If you have limitations in mobility, it means that stiff muscles spoil your posture and prevent you from moving in full range. Special exercises will help restore your back to its natural flexibility.

Exercises for a flexible back
Exercises for a flexible back

In the gym, we often hear that the back needs to be strong in order to serve as a lever for transmitting force during exercise.

Strong back muscles are really necessary, they protect the spine from injury and ensure correct body position. However, the back must also be flexible.

The spine bends forward and to the sides, unbends back and curls.

If you cannot reach the floor with your hands without bending your knees or, bending sideways, you cannot reach your knee with your hand, it is not the spine that is to blame, but the stiff muscles of the back and abdomen.

Stiff or weak muscles prevent you from full range of motion and cause posture problems and back pain. Therefore, it is so important to pay attention not only to muscle strength, but also to their flexibility.

Below are a few exercises to help restore the natural flexibility of your back in all directions.


A healthy back can bend vertebra by vertebra.

Reverse curl on the floor

  • Lie on the floor, raise your legs and bend your knees at a 90 degree angle with your shins parallel to the floor.
  • Lift the pelvis off the floor, lift it as high as possible.
  • At the extreme point, only the shoulders touch the floor, the knees are bent at an angle of 90 degrees and are over the head.
  • Lower yourself to the starting position. Do three sets of 20 reps.

"Cat-cow" by segment

  • Get on all fours.
  • Slowly round your back, starting with the lower back, gradually moving to the chest and neck.
  • Arch your back back, vertebra by vertebra, from the neck to the lower back.
  • Repeat five times.

Twisting Jefferson

This is a more difficult version of twisting, which is suitable for those who can already reach the floor with their hands.

  • Stand on a chair or pedestal with your toes on the edge.
  • Lower your chin to your chest, then start twisting the thoracic region, and then the lumbar, vertebra by vertebra.
  • Bend over until you reach full range of motion. The wrists should be below the edge of the curbstone or chair, do not bend your knees.
  • Likewise slowly and gradually rise back up.

Begin crunching without weight, just trying to keep your wrists as low as possible. Then try the crunches with a light weight in your hands - 2–8 kg, depending on your physical fitness. Increase your hand weight by 1–2 kg each month.


Most back injuries occur during crunches due to stiff and weak muscles. Strength and flexibility exercises with twists and turns can help protect your back.

Twisting on the chair


You can do this exercise anywhere, even at your desk.

  • Sit in a chair, stretch your spine up.
  • Leaving your pelvis in place, turn your torso and shoulders to the side.
  • Grasp the back of the chair with one hand, helping yourself to expand the body turn.
  • Hold the pose for 10-20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Complex of bends to the legs

  • Sit on the floor with your straight legs wide apart.
  • Pick up a 2.5 kg barbell pancake and lift it over your head, stretch your back up.
  • Bend sideways to your leg, stretch your ear to the knee - this is the first tilt of the complex. You can stay in this position or make some smooth springy movements.
  • Expand the body and stretch your chest towards the leg - this is the second tilt of the complex. It can also be done statically or dynamically.
  • Return to the starting position and do these two bends towards the other leg.
  • Return to the starting position and bend forward, trying to touch the floor with your chest and stomach, then straighten and bend forward again.

Twisting from the side plank

  • Stand in the side bar on your forearm, put your other hand behind your head, your elbow facing the ceiling.
  • Lean forward and touch the floor with your elbow.
  • Climb back up and repeat.
  • Perform 15 twists on each side.

Chest bridge

  • Get on all fours, hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips, feet on the pads.
  • Lift your knees off the floor, the body weight is distributed between the hands and the balls of the feet.
  • Lift your left arm and right leg off the floor, while rotating your torso to the left so that your left shoulder faces the ceiling.
  • Place your right foot on the floor shoulder-width apart from your left, tighten your buttocks, both hips facing the ceiling.
  • The shoulders are perpendicular to the floor, the chest is open as much as possible, the gaze is directed to the floor.
  • Return to the starting position on all fours and do the exercise on the other side.
  • Do the exercise five times in each direction.

Side bending

The ability to bend to the side largely depends on the condition of the oblique abdominal muscles. There is one good exercise that, on the one hand, helps to stretch tight muscles, and on the other hand, strengthens them.

Kettlebell slopes

  • Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart, hips and shoulders facing forward.
  • Take a dumbbell in one hand - from 2 to 10 kg, depending on your training.
  • Slowly slide the dumbbell along your leg, bending your spine to the side, until you reach the maximum range.
  • Slowly straighten up and repeat.
  • Make five bends to each side.

Back extension

This back movement is very important if you want strong muscles that keep the spine in a straight position during weight training. Probably the most popular exercise for strengthening the extensor muscles of the back is hyperextension.



You can do this exercise on an incline or horizontal hyperextension machine, a GHD machine, or even on a bench if you have something to get your feet on.

  • Lower the body to parallel with the floor. You can cross your arms over your chest, hold them on the sides of your body, or put your arms behind your head.
  • Straighten your back, bring your shoulders back and bring your shoulder blades together, pull your chest up. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and repeat the exercise.
  • Do three sets of 15-30 times, depending on your training.

Start small and work up gradually

There are many more exercises for developing back flexibility, but these are enough to get you started. Do them at least three times a week, or better yet, every day. To avoid injury, follow a few rules.

  1. Perform all exercises slowly, smoothly, and without jerking. When it comes to your back, you need to be doubly careful, so in no case do the exercises abruptly.
  2. Increase your weight gradually. For free weights, increase the weight no earlier than two months of regular training. This will allow your muscles to adjust to the new weight and prevent injury.
  3. Do the exercises mindfully, feel which muscles are tightening and stretching. This is especially important when you come to the end of your range of motion, where you need to be especially focused and careful not to get hurt.