Follow professional ballet dancer and co-founder of Lazy Dancer Studio, Alessia Lugoboni as she introduces five series of exercises to mobilize your back and improve your flexibility! They’re fun, simple, and invigorating—perfect for those office breaks when you’re aching for some movement after maintaining one position for hours on end. All you need is a chair!
Exercise 1: Roll Forward and Engage AbsSit up on your chair with your legs slightly apart and toes pointing outward. Roll forward from the hips and engage your abs. Keep rolling forward and back. Make sure you relax your shoulders and chest. The key is to just move your hips backwards and forwards without engaging your ribs. Then, bring your chest forward and out before rolling back in, making a big curve. Return to the straight sitting position and begin rolling backward and forward again with the bottom half of your upper body. This will work your lower abdominals. Make sure you match your body alignment with Alessia’s to get the best effect! Bring your chest forward again, arching and curving your back as you roll back in. Repeat this motion many times.
Exercise 2: Move Side to SideReturn to the starting sitting position. Now bend sideways and return to the center position. Do the same on the other side. Lift the hip slightly toward the rib as you carry out this exercise. Your bottom will also lift toward your hip—this is good. Once you’ve done this a few times, move the hips and the ribs side to side in long motions. This will help mobilize your back.
Exercise 3: Push Ribs Forward and Chest OutGet back into sitting position and this time roll your back forward, toward your chest and curl back from your abs, pushing your thighs back as you do so. Do this a few times before doing it the opposite way. Push your ribs forward, curling in and then bring your chest out toward the ceiling as you arch your back. Alessia advises to avoid moving your shoulders as you do this, and that your ribs are relaxed. Do this a few times before doing it the opposite way. Curl inwards then contract your back. Keep breathing as you do it!
Exercise 4: Dive Down and Move Chest Back UpSit with your legs apart, both hands on one leg, and bend down towards your leg as if diving. Move your chest back up before rolling back down again. Make sure your opposite leg is staying firmly on the chair, Alessia says. Arch and curl your back as you carry out these motions, moving your chest up toward the ceiling. Repeat a few times. Turn to the other side, positioning your hands on the opposite leg and dive down, chest out.
Exercise 5: Interlock Hands and Place Behind Your HeadReturn to the starting position, interlock your fingers together and place your arms behind your head or neck. Dive back down, curling your back and bringing your chest out as you move back up. Alessia advises to point your elbows to the ceiling as you come up. Keep diving and returning back up, stretching your back as you do so. Repeat a few times then do this the opposite way. Bend down toward your chest, curl your back and come back up with your chest toward the ceiling. Turn to the side and dive back down to your leg and up, with your arms still interlocked behind your head. Do this a few times then repeat for the other leg.
This last part requires you to sit up, placing one palm in front of the other and moving slightly side to side. Isolate your ribs while doing this. Make sure you don’t move your hips. Your bottom should also be positioned firmly on your seat while doing this motion, Alessia says. Rotate from one side to the other then switch hands so the opposite palm is now over the other and pull your body to the other side. Your elbows should lead the movement. Try to move all the way to the back! Repeat a few times. Keep rotating and switching hands as you go along. Then move your elbows in a figure of eight position, moving all the way around, up and down.
Try doing these exercises whenever you feel tense or achy, or just when you need a little stretch! Make sure to check out Alessia’s video for a more complete demonstration.