Stretch of the Week: Cobra on the Wall

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The final back bending exercise for January is an advanced stretch called Cobra on the Wall. It is similar to the stretch highlighted in the first week of January, but with the assistance of a wall.

You will need wall space and possibly a folded towel or blanket to use as a cushion. As this week’s stretch is advanced, do not perform if you have had any prior history of low back, neck or shoulder pain. As with beginning any exercise program, contact your physician or physical or occupational therapist to review what is most appropriate for you.

Starting Position:

  1. Position yourself in front of a wall, lying face down, with the crown of your head 1-2 inches away from the wall. Rest your forehead on your hands.

Performing Cobra on the Wall:

  1. Space your feet no more than hip distance apart. Curl the toes under (see top picture) and tighten the muscles along the front of the thigh so the knees come off the floor.
  2. Draw the belly button in towards the spine and start to slowly walk the hands up the wall until the arms are straight. Bring your shoulder blades back together and down towards your tailbone. Keep the collar bones wide so the chest stays open. Gaze is straight ahead to the wall.
  3. Finally, press the front of your pelvis towards the floor. Take a look at the top photo for the correct body position.

Tip: if this is uncomfortable along the front of your hips as they are pressing into the floor, take a folded blanket and place it under just the hips.

It is very important to keep everything engaged! If you let the feet relax and the head look down or do not keep the shoulder blades drawn together and down, you may feel strain  in the low back. This is NOT what you want. (See bottom photo for incorrect positioning.)

  1. Remain in this position for 8 breaths then walk the hands back down to the floor and rest your forehead on your hands. If this exercise is new to you, begin by holding for 2-3 breaths, working up to 8.Cobra on the Wall


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StretchingWeekly Stretchflexibilitystretchstretch of the weekStretchingyoga

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