Move of the Week: Spine-Rotation Stretch

BY Emma-Kate Stampton TIMEDecember 18, 2012 PRINT

A decent stretch can reduce muscle tightness and relieve muscle soreness. Whether you have overtrained or have simply overdone it after not working out for a while, the spine-rotation stretch is great for opening your upper and midback, and outer-thigh region.

Don’t worry if you don’t work out. Stretching is for everybody. Try this stretch in the commercial break of your favorite television show. Your body will be grateful!

Getting Started

1. Start sitting on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you.
2. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the floor next to your outer left thigh.
3. Place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh.
4. Gently twist and look over your right shoulder.
5. Hold this position for at least five deep breaths (about 30 seconds) or until you feel your body opening up.
6. Breathe slowly and evenly as you hold the stretch.
7. Repeat on the other side

Focus Points

Keep your spine tall. Avoid rounding your shoulders or slouching as you twist. Imagine someone is pulling the crown of your head toward the ceiling.

Try not to stretch to the maximum point. It shouldn’t feel as if your muscles are about to snap. Stretch your body gently to about 70 to 80 percent of your maximum.

It is vital to keep your breathing flowing while you stretch. If you hold your breath, your body will be resistant to the stretch. Focus on slowly inhaling and exhaling. This will assist your muscles to relax into the stretch.

To gain true benefit from a static stretch, you must hold it for at least 30 seconds. Holding a stretch for one minute is ideal, but you can work your way up to that.

This stretch promotes spinal mobility through rotation, a key factor in maintaining a healthy spine. As we age, sections of our spine can fuse together and become rigid and prone to injury. This is a great movement to counterbalance these negatives. Team this stretch with a bridge position for a healthy spine-mobility workout.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.

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