Starting Position: Assume a seated position with your legs apart as illustrated. The angle of your legs should not compromise your ability to sit upright (i.e., trunk vertical) with your head aligned with your spine, extend your knees and point your toes towards the ceiling. Bend your elbows and abduct your arms (raise arms to sides) slightly so that your forearms are positioned vertically to the floor.
Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, then gently exhale and slowly bend sideways, driving the lowered elbow downward towards the floor without rotating your trunk or bending forward. Keep your head aligned with your spine, knees extended and toes pointed upwards towards the ceiling. This should create a stretch through the side of your trunk with some stretching in your back.
Continue to bend sideways to the point of tension in the stretch, but do not bounce or push to a point of pain. Hold this position for 15 – 30 seconds then relax by returning to your starting position, repeat 2-4 times, then switch to the opposite side of your body.
Exercise Variation: This stretch can become more dynamic by performing slow, controlled movements to complete 1 set of 5 – 10 repetitions in each direction, holding the stretched position for 1 – 2 seconds.
To maximize the benefits of a stretch and reduce the potential for injury, it is often important to stretch only to the point of tension, avoid bouncing and control movement at other segments of the body. During this stretch, avoid any rotation or forward flexion (bending) of your low back