Skip links

Back stretches that ease stiffness and increase flexibility


If you’ve been struggling with a tight back then this blog is for you. Here are a few top tips and movements that you can do to reduce the stiffness and increase flexibility.

Tightness in the back can be due to increased mechanical load of the back muscles. So many athletes will struggle with a tight back. A tight stiff back might also be due to poor posture whilst you’re sitting at a desk. Finally it can also be due to lack of exercise. 

Upper back stretches:

So you can do this standing or seated. Bringing your hands together, leaning forwards, and really pushing in front of you. Drop your head through, and breathe through the stretch, you can hold that one up for 30 to 40 seconds. If you want to increase the stretch of that, you can get someone to hold the end of your hands and pull you. Or if you don’t have anyone to hold you, you can put a band around your hands, attach it to something nice and strong, and also allow it to pull you.

Stretches for the mid back:

So many people will be stiff in the middle of their back. So if you bring yourself to line up. And all you want to do here is then bring yourself in to extension and back up. Down, and back up. You can move a little bit further up, and feel through each of the segments, where it feels particularly stiff. 

Another one for middle to lower back is a combined movement. So if you bring your one leg over, cross arm over and rotate through, take a deep breath in and out, you should be able to go a little bit further, holding there for 30 to 40 seconds.

Lower back stretches:

Lying on your back, bringing your leg up, one hand holds the upside and you want to bring that leg over. You want to ensure that your shoulders stay on the ground and that the leg stays straight. If you’re particularly tight, you won’t go that far. But just really make sure those shoulders stay on the ground, so your back should not be lifting up at the top. You should feel that through your lower back and through your glutes, hold that 10 to 40 seconds.

The final stretch for our lower back is called the seal. So onto our front, and all you’re going to do is raise up with your hands. You might feel this through the front, through your abdominals, but mainly you should be feeling it in your lower back here. So this is stretching your lower back in extension, and then to come in to slight flexion. Go back onto your heels. Push your head to the floor, walk your hands out and let your whole body weight drop into the mat. Whilst you’re in this position, we can also add a combined movement to stretch the side of your arm, your lats, and down into your back. So once we’re here, we can walk out to the side. And that should be giving a nice stretch through the left hand side. Again, coming back to the middle. Walking out to the left will provide a nice stretch down the right side.

So that is a combination of stretches you can do to really decrease that stiffness and increase the flexibility. A tight back might also be due to tightening somewhere else. For example, if you have tight hamstrings, they become shorter. If your hamstrings become shorter, your lower back will be forced to curve more. If your low back is forced to curve more, the alignment of your spine is changed, which then means that there might be stiffness with or without pain. In that case, you would want to target your hamstrings.

For more information about Back Pain and Stiffness

This article was written by our team of specialist therapists at Perfect Balance Clinic. If you would like more specific advice about how our team can help you with this condition or symptoms you may be having, please complete the contact form below and one of the team will get back to you shortly.

    Return to top of page