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Stretch of the Week: Cobra Stretch

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Week two of July is here! This week’s stretch is called the Cobra Stretch and it targets the hip flexors, which are the muscles along the front of the thigh and pelvis. In addition, you may also feel this stretch along the front of the torso and up into the chest! This can be a great stretch if you walk or run a lot.

Please skip this week if you have trouble getting up and down from the floor. Also do not perform this stretch if you are currently experiencing low back pain or have a history of low back problems without consulting your physician first. Please discontinue the stretch if you get tingling, numbing, or sharp pain in your low back or down your legs.

How to perform:

  1. Lie on the floor on your belly with your forehead to the floor. Place your hands palm down on the floor, alongside your ribs. You want to create a 90° angle with your elbows as shown in photo 1.
  1. Bring your legs together. Keep the tops of your feet pressed to the floor, and as you inhale, peel your chest slowly off the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, down, and away from your ears. Keep your elbows pointed directly back. Bring your belly button to your spine to protect the low back. Gaze will be roughly six inches in front of you on the floor, as shown in photo 2.
  1. If the low back feels fine here, you can start to lift the torso higher by pressing your hands into the floor. Keep your knees on the floor as shown in photo 3. Only go as high as you feel comfortable while keeping all the muscle engagements as in step number 2. Gaze can be at the horizon here.

Take note of the “No” photo. Notice how the shoulders roll forward and up toward the ears. Also notice how the legs are not together. Avoid the incorrect position pictured in the No photo.

  1. Stay in this position for 30 seconds. As you exhale, slowly lower back down to the floor. This is a movement that you can do three to five times with a minute of break in between each lift. Enjoy!

Stretch of the Week: Cobra StretchInterested in learning more? Email me at

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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