Tense Back? Try These Five Stretches For Immediate Relief

Woman lying on floor performing back twist
(Image credit: Natalia Lebedinskaia / Getty Images)

A lot of people deal with aches and pains in their back, and the time spent hunched over desks, and mobile phones, as well as lounging on the sofa for box-set marathons only exacerbates the issue.

Incorporating mobility and strengthening back exercises into your routine is one of the best ways to support a healthier spine. Daily stretches can also help keep your spine mobile, as well as provide relief if you're experiencing tightness or tension. 

If you’re in need of some go-to stretches to mobilize your back muscles, try the five level 3 personal trainer and yoga instructor Emily Mouu shared in her Instagram Reel. Mouu also provided some extra form tips exclusively with Coach, so you can get the most out of each exercise.

A few of the stretches in this routine are twists and rotations, which encourage the spine's natural range of motion, according to Mouu. This includes the first stretch in the routine, the seated reach-over. “Sitting comfortably, with one knee bent and one leg extended, take your opposite arm to the knee that’s bent then reach your other arm over to the side. Take it to wherever feels good,” says Mouu.

Exercises like the down dog chest to thighs are great for stretching and strengthening the muscles in the back, and opening up the chest, shoulders and back, helping to ease aches and pains. Mouu recommends thinking of a downward dog as moving your body into “an upside down V shape”. Then, to do the exercise, “lift up onto your toes, bend your knees and squeeze your chest to your thighs,” she says.

Puppy pose is another yoga exercise in this routine that you might not have tried before, but it’s great for releasing the muscles in the back. “Begin in tabletop on your hands and knees with the palms of your hands underneath your shoulder blades and your knees underneath your hips,” says Mouu. “Walk your hands as far forward as you can, keeping your hips over your knees. When you can’t walk your hands any further forward, exhale and take your head and chest towards your mat."

Try to do these exercises a few times a week to increase your mobility, maybe at the start of the day or after working out. You can also try these back stretches and these exercises to relive back pain.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.