Back Stretch-Cat/Cow & Child’s Pose

Two gentle, easy-to-do stretches for low back tightness or discomfort!
Cat and cow can be done anywhere as long as being on your hands and knees for a few minutes is comfortable for you. This combination of spinal flexion and slight spinal extension is a great place to begin if you’re feeling particularly stiff today, if your back has tightened up doing an activity, such as gardening, or even first thing when you get out of bed in the morning. Remember these tips when you do cat/cow:

  • When you arch your back (belly button falls toward floor), think about arching as much in your upper back, right under your shoulder blades, as your lower back.
  • When your round your back (belly button presses back toward the ceiling), think about rounding in your low back as much as your upper back.
  • Keep your hips right over your knees (don’t let them move forward or back.
  • Keep your shoulders down away from your ears the whole time.

Child’s pose flexes the spine like the cat position, but with a focus on flexion of the low thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. If you hold a lot of tension in your low back or stand with an anterior pelvic tilt (your butt sticks out and your low abs fall forward, creating a scooped look in your low back), child’s pose is a gentle way to reverse that excessive extension and stretch out the muscles of the low back. Remember these tips when you do child’s pose:

  • Widen your heels if you need space for your abdomen or chest.
  • Place a rolled up mat or blanket on your heels if your knees don’t fully flex or you experience pain as you sit back toward your heels. By placing a blanket here, you can still sit back with less flexion in the knee.


Want to get to the bottom of your low back pain by learning how to stand with better, more balanced posture?  Schedule your free 90 minute consultation.

Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.