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Stretch of the Week: Dynamic Spinal Circles

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The Weekly Stretches for August will focus on dynamic stretching. Typically we are doing static stretching, which is the optimal way to increase flexibility in our muscles. However, dynamic stretching shouldn’t be overlooked!

Dynamic stretching requires movement on an inhale, with the next movement done on the exhale. It is a great way to warm up the muscles and joints before exercising. By the end of this month, you’ll have a great stretching sequence for beginning your day or exercise routine. This first week’s stretch is called Dynamic Spinal Circles. This stretch can be performed either seated on the floor or in a chair. Although this is a very gentle movement, please consult your doctor before performing if you have a spinal injury.

How to perform:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed, or sit in a chair with your feet planted right under your knees. Your hands are on your knees in either position. As you take a deep inhale, lean forward as shown in photo 1. Your shoulder blades come toward each other and down your back. Your gaze is forward. Make sure you don’t have a rounded back!
  1. As you start to exhale, lean to the left as shown in photo 2. Your gaze can start to look at your opposite knee. Your sit bones are planted to the floor or chair.
  1. As you complete the exhale, lean back as shown in photo 3. Your belly button presses to your spine. Hang on to your knees with your hands. Your chin can come toward your chest and your gaze is down. You may round your upper back some here, as long as it feels ok.
  1. As you start to inhale again, lean to the right as shown in photo 4, your gaze is at your opposite knee again. Then come back to leaning forward as you complete the inhale and start another circle to the left.
  1. That’s it! Do 3-5 circles one way and then switch to the other direction for the same number of rounds.

Stretch of the Week: Dynamic Spinal CirclesInterested 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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