After increasing my flexibility enough to get into the front splits at the age of 44, my next goal was to stretch for back flexibility. Mainly, I wanted to do a strong wheel pose (with the one-legged wheel as a future goal). I have been trying all kinds of back flexibility stretches since I started working on my back flexibility at the beginning of this year. As a newbie, I have been noticing significant improvements using my 30-minute routines (read How Long Should You Stretch to Increase Your Flexibility to learn more about how long it takes).
However, I wanted to have a quick routine that I could do more frequently. And that’s the purpose of this stretch for back flexibility.
How to Stretch for Back Flexibility
There is a pattern that I favor for my stretching routines. First, as an intermediate yogi, I usually stretch for 30 minutes now (as a beginner, I stretched for 15 minutes). Next, I alternate splits and back flexibility routines. I have been experimenting with changing things up and doing a quick back flexibility routine every morning or afternoon on top of my evening stretch. The reason I was implementing this approach was to enjoy the energizing benefits of back bending every day and possibly see faster results.
If you are curious about my full-body flexibility training calendar and flexibility sessions, check out my Moving With Intention program. Most days, I use my own flexibility videos from this program. I created it because I couldn’t find anything like it online.
5 Best Stretches for Back Flexibility
In this quick routine, I wanted to include all my favorite stretches to get the most flexibility gains in the least amount of time while enjoying the journey
Pigeon has been one of my all-time favorite stretches. Why do I like it so much? Because it works your inner hip, your psoas, your quads, and your back! Now, that is a multi-purpose stretch! I find it feels good too! Try the king pion with a strap when pigeon becomes too easy,
Cobra is an excellent passive stretch for back flexibility. It opens your back and your front body to get deeper into that wheel.
Bow Pose With a Strap
Since I wanted this session to be short and effective, I didn’t include any stretch specifically for the shoulders. However, if you did king pigeon with a strap and now the bow pose with a strap, you will feel that stretch in your shoulders.
If I had to pick only two stretches before doing the wheel, it would be cobra and camel. Camel not only stretches our front and back bodies but helps with your back strength (like the bow pose).
Wheel and Wheel Pushups
In the stretch for back flexibility routine, you will be spending a while in the wheel because the wheel is the number one most effective pose to open up and get deeper into the wheel. That’s what I discovered over the course of my training. Even when I spend half an hour stretching before doing the wheel, there is a huge improvement from my first to my third wheel. The issue is that the wheel is hard for beginners. I couldn’t do it at all at first. The best way to improve is to keep trying. Once you manage one wheel, you don’t have to do the other ones. Aim for one wheel, then do the pushups, then try the one-legged wheel exercises in the routine.