Your spine is an intricate series of 24 individual bones that interact and connect through flexible joints called facets. When these bones and joints cannot work together in order to provide proper movement patterns they also fail to be strong or stable during those said movements. This is why it’s so important to maintain proper flexibility. Without a mobile spine, you will lack core strength and distal joint strength.
The first place we need to start are the hips. They are the foundation of our core, stabilizing and maintaining proper position of every vertebra on the way up. All of the movements also include muscles in the hips that need to be lengthened in order to have proper spine mobility. So, let’s start by grabbing a mat and getting on the floor to set up for your first movement.
The Shinbox Extension Tripod and Overhead Reach is a great move because its starts by opening up the hips and simultaneously the Overhead reach provides a nice stretch through the lower and mid back. Once in the proper shinbox extension position, the Overhead reach will force a deeper stretch through your hips, obliques and lats which is really what initiates the lower and mid back release. Opening up this tension laterally will increase rotational mobility through the spine and provide better hip stabilization.
Our second exercise is the Half Kneeling Cat cow. This movement is meant to focus on two areas. Your adductors, inner thighs, and spine as you will be much more active through your shoulder blades and mid back. Your adductors play a major role in your hips and back. When the adductors are too tight they can cause internal rotation of the femur, preventing proper glute activation and cause the lower back to become over worked. If you want to lessen the tension placed on your lower back use this movement to lengthen your inner thighs thus opening up the hips. As your inner thighs become more flexible, your ability to perform the cat and cow pose in the half kneeling position will provide a huge amount of mobility throughout the spine, especially since your shoulders are so involved in this motion.
Lastly, we have our Total Body Spine Activation and Flow to bring everything together. This one move will expose or loosen up anything that is going on in your spine. The downward dog, wave unload and cobra flow is a move I have done repeatedly for quite sometime to help mobilize my spine for the better. Because of the various movements in this flow, I highly recommend doing it as slow as possible − especially when coming out of the downward dog because that’s where the true mobility comes into play. This transition forces the shoulders to be put to the stabilization test. Make sure you are able to have enough tension on your hands before attempting this move. As you continue to flow into cobra, make sure to keep your chest up. In that bottom position, try to maintain good posture before returning back to a light child’s pose, which gives you a nice break between each rep.
Have fun with your movements, enjoy this spine mobility drill of three exercises today and stay active.