My top 3 stretches for the low back and why you should consider doing them…
Knee hugs. I cannot stress how important these are for the low back. They help to keep the structures i.e. the discs which are essential for keeping your spine happy and healthy, plump and full of nutrients. Knee hugs provide a pumping action that allows fluid and nutrients to move up and down the spine helping to keep the disc height and roundness which helps prevent damage to the deep structures of the spine.
Infamous hip flexor stretches. I find that most people stretch hip flexors in a lunge position. This is a good way to target this large group of muscles however if not done correctly it can place a large amount of strain on the low back. To avoid this, sidelying is the best way to get the deepest stretch and to reduce any strain that could be placed on the low back. Most of us like to stretch out the spine and we forget that we have a front. Psoas which is one of the hip flexors, attaches to the low back so for the spine to be healthy we must keep the front hip muscles as flexible as possible to reduce the strain and pull on the spine.
Deep muscles of the spine stretch – opening the low back, the mid back and sides of the hip. Especially in runners and cyclists or anyone that must bend forward and twist on a regular basis e.g. sitting at a desk and constantly answering the phone on your right would really benefit from this stretch. Not only does this stretch elongate the spine, it targets the main hip, pelvic and spinal muscle groups all at once so they can stretch in synergy and not against one another.
Below are pictures of my favourite low back stretches: