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The 8-Minute Better-Back Workout

  • Andrew Parsons

    Cat-Cow Variation

    Get your doctor's okay before starting these strengthening and conditioning exercises.

    Reduces stiffness in back and hips; relieves tension in spine

    • a. Cow Pose: On hands and knees, inhale and lift head while making back concave.
    • b. Cat Pose: On exhale, tuck tailbone, contract abs, and round back, head down.
    • c. Child's Pose: Draw hips back to heels, drop chest, rounding spine, and rest forehead on floor, arms in front of you. Do 6 reps of whole cycle. Rest in Child's Pose for several breaths.
  • Andrew Parsons

    Bridge Pose

    Stretches abs, hips, quads, lower back; strengthens abs

    • Lie faceup with feet on floor about 6 inches from butt, arms by sides, palms down.
    • Inhaling, press into feet and lift lower body until knees form a diagonal with head.
    • As you exhale, contract your abs and slowly lower spine.
    • Do 6 reps.
  • Andrew Parsons

    Extended Leg Pose

    Stretches hamstrings; strengthens abs

    • Lie faceup with knees bent, feet on floor; take 3 deep breaths.
    • a. Exhale and hug left knee to chest.
    • b. Inhaling, extend left leg over hip. Exhaling, hug it in. Do 3 reps.
    • On fourth rep, keep leg up and circle ankle four times in each direction.
    • Hug knee in; lower foot. Switch sides; repeat.
    • Exhale and hug both knees to chest for 3 breaths.
  • Andrew Parsons

    Butterfly Pose

    Tones abs, pelvic floor, inner thighs

    • a. Lie faceup with soles of feet together, knees open to sides. Inhale.
    • b. Exhale and slowly squeeze thighs together. Do 6 reps.
    • Do 6 more times, taking twice as long to bring thighs together.
  • Andrew Parsons

    Cobra Leg Lift

    Strengthens back and pelvic muscles

    • Lie facedown with elbows by sides, hands by shoulders.
    • Rest forehead on floor, chin tucked slightly.
    • Inhale and lift chest using back muscles.
    • At the same time, lift right leg as high as you can while keeping pelvis level.
    • Hold, then exhale to lower.
    • Switch sides; repeat.
    • Do 6 reps, alternating sides, lifting leg a little higher each time.
  • Video: Exercises for Back Pain

    Try all five exercises to relieve back pain along with Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland.