Segmental flexion and extension of the spine is essentially a very slow and controlled CAT COW exercise.
The goal is to promote movement in each individual joint of the spine.
✔️ On your hands and knees (quadruped position) – you will notice my toes are tucked under, if this is uncomfortable you can place your feet flat on the ground.
✔️Spine is in a neutral position.
1️⃣ While on your hands and knees you will START AT YOUR TAILBONE and work to ‘tuck your tail between your legs’ which will begin flexing or rounding your low back.
Slowly try to move the segments of the spine up to the sky until you get to your neck. You are now finished in a rounded position and looking under yourself.
This is HALF of the movement and puts your spinal joints into flexion.
2️⃣ To finish the FULL movement of CAT COW you will now move your joints into extension. Keeping all the joints in flexion, you start by reaching your tailbone to the sky. “stair step” the rest of the way up your spine until you are looking up as high as you can
This completes one full rep.
❗️You want to make sure this movement is done pain free. If there is an area that is causing discomfort, only flex/extend the area in a range where you remain pain free.
Repeat the entire movement again for 2 full reps. Doing this at least once a day will build the awareness of your spinal joints as well as strengthen them
Foam rolling is a great way to help loosen the muscles in an area that is feeling tight. Tight hips or quads will benefit from this particular type of rolling seen in the video. Please note the regression and progressions that Phil demonstrates. We recommend starting with a low intensity method and progress if you feel you could use more pressure on the muscles.
The front of the hip is a tricky area to stretch. Setting up in the proper position is critical.
Key points to focus on:
✔️ FRONT LEG: knee over ankle
✔️ BACK LEG: knee stacked under hip, shoulder and ear
✔️ PELVIC POSITION: Contract back leg, bum(glute), and abs to tuck your tailbone underneath you
Gluteal muscles (our bum muscles) are often tight from a specific workout, activity or from long durations sitting. When these muscle are tight they make it harder for our hip and pelvic joints to move correctly. Therefore, it is crucial to continually work on them to keep them loose. Check out these videos where Dr. Sly demonstrates how to foam roll these muscles to help loosen them up.
In this video, Dr. Sly demonstrates how to increase hip internal rotation. This range of motion is often forgotten when stretching but is very important. Other areas of your body, such as the joints in your lower back, have to compensate if you have limited hip internal rotation. This could lead to possible injury and decrease your chances of optimal performance.