Before going into our back series, warm up your abdominals with our Oceanside Abs. It’s important to make sure the abs are working to prevent your lower back from taking the brunt of the work.
Set yourself up on your palms and knees. On an exhale, draw your navel up towards the sky, rounding into your cat back. Think of reaching your tailbone and the crown of your head towards the ground. On an inhale, arch your back, reaching your tail and crown towards the sky and lifting your sternum. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Sit tall in a butterfly position (soles of the feet together) or with your legs crossed and reach your arms out to the sides. On an inhale, bend from the waist without letting either sitz bone come off the ground. On your exhale, engage your obliques and come up to center, sitting even taller than you were before. Repeat on the left, doing 5 sets total.
Start off the same way, inhaling as you bend to the right. On your exhale, twist from the waist, reaching your right arm behind you and your left arm overhead. Inhale to untwist, then exhale to sit tall. Repeat on the left and do 4 more sets.
3) Back extension
Lay down on your belly with your arms by your sides and your forehead on the mat. Glue your hands to the outsides of your thighs and pull the fronts of your shoulders away from the ground so your chest is very open. Make sure you’re keeping your navel drawing up towards your spine the entire time to protect your lower back.
On an inhale, lift your chest up, thinking of widening through the collarbones. Maintain length in the back of your neck; you should be able to breathe and talk comfortably when your head is lifted. Exhale as you lower yourself down, but don’t let your chest collapse. Do 5 of these, rest in a child’s pose for a moment, then do 5 more.
4) Diagonal reaches
Lying on your belly, extend your arms and legs out so your body makes a narrow X shape. On an inhale, reach your right arm and left leg so long that they float off the ground (but don’t let your head lift up). Exhale to lower them down. Switching sides, do 5 sets total.
Do another set, this time lifting your head and chest as you lift the arm and opposite leg. Try for 5 sets.
5) Flat back
Stand with your feet wide and legs slightly turned out and reach your arms out to the sides. It’s incredibly important to keep your abdominals engaged on this one, and to maintain a micro-bend in your knees so they aren’t locked.
Inhale to lift tall through your torso, then fold into a flat back. Your spine should stay long. As you exhale, draw your belly in and return to standing tall. Do 5 total — unless your lower back is screaming.
Bonus!: For an extra challenge, repeat with your fingers interlaced behind your head, or your arms extended long. Make sure you keep your belly strong!
Wherever this summer takes you, pack all 4 of our travel workouts — and let us know what you think!
Author: Ali Weeks