Posted on 05 Jan 2012 16:30
The cat stretch is a basic spinal mobilizer is sometimes called the "cat camel," a misnomer.1 This easy and gliding stretch helps mobilize and release tension from the spine and stretch the back. Use this stretch as part of a basic mobility routine. If you have a back injury or pain, consult a doctor and/or physical therapist before using this exercise.
1. Get on the floor in a quadruped position, knees hip width apart and hands shoulder width apart. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders, palms flat on the floor.
2. Round your back upwards while tilting your pelvis posteriorly (backwards), trying to bend your back up as high as you can. While doing this allow your neck and head to round down in a natural line with your rounded upper back, toward your chest. The bend of your upper back should be higher than your shoulders. Your hips should move toward your arms.
3. Hold for a pause, while breathing slowly in and out with normal diaphragmatic breaths.
4. Slowly arch your back down away from the rounded position, trying to bring your stomach toward the floor. Your pelvis should tilt anteriorly (forwards) and your shoulder should move slightly back. Your butt should move up towards the sky. Allow your head and neck to extend up in a natural line with your arched back.
5. Hold for a pause, with slow breathing.
6. This is one repetition. The movement should be done slowly, fluidly, and under control. No jerking or sudden movements. Aim for a very slow gliding movement in both directions.
7. Repeat several times, as desired.