This exercise requires focus, coordination, and awareness. It is simple, yet when done properly and mastered, it can do wonders for one’s back because it builds up the stamina in the supporting muscles of the spine. These muscles are needed for mundane tasks like bending over a sink to brush teeth, ironing, or washing a floor. If these muscles are weak, then one will often experience pain, and sometimes that pain can be excruciating. According to NASM, nearly 80 percent of all adults will experience back pain during their lives. This is one of those exercises that can really do wonders for preventing or healing an ailing back.
By extending our opposite arm and leg away from our center without allowing ourselves to fall out of alignment, we strengthen the stabilizers of our spine, shoulders, and hips.
This exercise often puts people off balance at first. So, to train the body to remain well aligned. Try performing it with the side against or close to a wall. Try not to fall toward or away from the wall. It is also imperative that one maintains a neutral spine. This means that all the natural curves in the spine should be maintained. The lower back should have a slight arch, the upper back should be straight, and the face should be parallel to the floor, with a small curve in the neck maintained. A good way to measure this is to place a wooden dowel or broomstick on the back. One needs to feel the tailbone, upper back, and back of the head against the dowel.
Keep the elbows pointing toward the thighs and bend them until the torso is parallel to the ground.
Keep the thighs under the hip sockets. In an attempt to rest their triceps, people often shift their weight toward their legs, shortening the angle between the thigh and hips. Try to stay centered. An added bonus to the challenge of staying centered is that it builds nicely defined triceps.
Gently draw the navel toward the spine and lift the pelvic floor. Without falling out of alignment, extend the opposite arm and leg. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.