Do you want to do a backbend?

DO YOU WANT TO DO A BACKBEND?

Probably you saw people doing backbends during yoga or gymnastics back in the school times but you always thought “naaah… it’s not for me”. Let us enlighten you – it is for everyone. And it does not have to be as hard as it looks like. So…. How to do a perfect bridge pose? You will do that after reading this article, using some of our tips and doing a bit of exercise!

WHAT IS A BACKBAND AND WHO IS IT FOR?

A backbend is what yoga instructors are calling a wheel pose. To do this particular position you need to bend your back backward in order to do a full bridge. Practicing spine flexibility is really important especially in the times we live in. Many of us are in the sitting position the
entire day. Working behind a computer, driving a car, watching TV – all of this causes the lack of spinal extension. It requires to tighten shoulders and hips which is not good for our health. Is the spine stretching safe for you? Yes, it is. If you’re not injured and if there are none medical contraindications you should practice your flexibility (you may want to contact your doctor beforehand). Remember that stretching should not be painful – you need to feel a good, nice stretch but if you feel a major pain when exercising than you should stop or go to another exercise. It doesn’t matter how old are you or how flexible you already are. Even the stiffest people can really benefit from exercising their spines.

LET’S DO A BACKBEND

Okay, so you already know what a backbend is – let’s start exercising! First, you have to remember to warm up before any sports activity you do just to let your muscles know that they need to prepare, and you will be using a lot of them today: rhomboids, hamstrings, core muscles, trapezius, triceps, pectoralis minor and also hip flexors. What do you need? Definitely, a yoga mat is a must-have.

WARM UP!

To start you need to prepare your spine, your legs and your shoulders for the activity. For example, you can do several sequences of a Sun Salutation – a well-known yoga practice. For those who are not really into yoga – a few minutes of jogging or cardiovascular will be good as well. Besides, you should also do a bit of stretching. Remember that stretching is all about holding the stretch (i.e. for 15 min) and not pumping. Try to extend your body
with the downward and upward dog poses.

OFF YOU GO (with a few yoga poses)

  1. The first position which is really helpful while trying to lengthen and stretch the spine the cat and cow pose. Begin with the cow pose. Be on your all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under the hips and lift your chin and chest up and draw your shoulders down. While exhaling slightly move to the cat pose which looks like an actual cat stretching its back. Stretch your back towards the ceiling. Do not force your chin to your chest. Repeat the sequence 5 to 20 times.

  2. Another exercise you should do is called in yoga the Spinhx position. You should lie face-down with your arms on the sides bent under your shoulders. While inhaling you press the arms to the floor and lift the chest and the head up. You can extend the lengthening of the spine by rolling the outer thighs. Try to draw your chest forward, hold it up and while exhaling slowly get back down with your head and your chest.

  3. Let’s get ready for the full bridge pose! This one is called the bridge and during this exercise, you support your head and shoulders. Lie on the back with the feet under the bent knees and try to reach your feet with your fingers. Lift your hip and hold it from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

DO THE WORK

  1. Prepare the spine for the full bridge while working on the thoracic extension. You can sit and put your hands on some box and start pressing your chest down. You can also do this while standing.

  2. . To improve your spinal flexibility try thoracic rotation – start sitting with your forearms on your knees and rotate your body with elbow bend behind your back.

  3. This exercise starts in a kneeling position. You push your hips forward and lift your chest up to the ceiling and back while relaxing your hips.

  4. Another important thing is to do the classic lunge stretch and add the chest rotation to the side.

  5. Camel stretch – this exercise starts in a kneeling position, where your arms are supporting you while pushing the hips and the chest away from each other.

  6. When feeling more comfortable you can try a full bridge pose! Good luck!

TIPS AND TRICKS

Those of you who are a bit less advanced can try to do the full bridge with the large ball under the back for a support. Another useful idea is to put blocks under your hands to avoid the lower back compression. Stiffer people should stretch their hips, chest and shoulder on a daily basis. Even if only for 15 minutes. Those who are more flexible tend to overextend their back and to avoid the injury should build their core muscle strength. Remember that stretching you back is also about forward bending. A lot of people forget about that while focusing on the backbend but the full movement is really important for the spine. You can try to touch your feet with your hands and practice it as much as you can – even when tightening your shoes. You can also kneel and put your hands on the ground on the one side of your legs
and try to stand up.

BENEFITS OF A BACKBEND

The main benefit of the backbend is that during it you open your chest and your shoulders. Your spine gains flexibility and it has a full range of movement what reduce the pain in the spine caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Remember that the backbend needs to be done correctly in order to be beneficial – a bad backbend can cause problems, so if you have an opportunity
to contact a gym trainer or a yoga teacher to take a look at your backbend then definitely do that!

BREATH, BACKBEND, REPEAT

Did you manage to do a bridge pose? If not – continue and exercise more. It is really good for your spine as well as your state of being. If yes – now you should try a backbend kickover. How to do that? Go into a bridge pose, kick over with your foot and try to stand up. To do that you will need a strong core and upper body muscles and a lot of nice stretching.

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