4 Moves To Release Back Tension


Penelope Cairns |

Ease out your mid-back with these simple exercises. – By Sam Murphy

Stiff back? Physio and Pilates specialist Ailish Toomey, thinks it can affect your stride. ‘If your thoracic spine is stiff, the trunk rotation that’s part of the running action has to come from somewhere else; it tends to be your lower back or neck,’ she says. ‘These areas then get overused.’

Try Toomey’s four moves to restore thoracic mobility.

BACK 1

Seated rotation

Sit on the edge of a chair, side-on to a resistance band secured to a support at chest height. Take hold of the band in both hands and, with hips fixed, use your oblique abs to rotate your torso away from the secured end, keeping your hands in front of your chest. Pause, then return to the start position and repeat. Do 15 reps on each side.

BACK 2

Arm openings

Lie on your side with your arms at chest level and a support under your head. Paint an arc with the top arm and rotate the chest towards the ceiling as far as is comfortable, allowing the head to follow the movement. Pause, then return to the start position and repeat. Do 10 reps on each side.

BACK 3

Wall slide

Stand facing a wall (half a step away), sides of your hands on the wall, arms parallel. Slide your hands up the wall as high as you can without changing posture. Remove your left arm and rotate to the left, keeping your hips forward and shoulder blades drawn back. Pause, then return to centre and repeat to the right. Do 10 reps on each side.

BACK 4

Back rolls

Lie on your back with a foam roller under your spine at mid-chest level, and with your knees bent but not locked. Link your hands behind your head for support. Lift up your hips and roll your spine up and down the roller, focusing on your upper back. Do for one minute.

Illustrations by Lizzy Thomas