The dual bench setup in our kitchen lends itself to back bending, in a completely controllable way. Elbow pressure downwards relieves compression in the lower back; the arms can rotate the shoulders with respect to the hips; and the arms control the depth of the bend, and make coming out of the end position safe and easy.
Hello, Olivia here. Today I’m in my kitchen. I want to show you a really nice way to use the two parts of a bench top to do a powerful front of body stretch. By that I mean all of this through the ribs here, abdominals, you get a very strong hip flexor stretch, and also into the quads.
The beauty of this setup is that I can control everything, intricately; it’s really impressive. So, this is what it looks like.
Step forward right to the front edge here; I’m holding on. I’m going to start with a bent-kneed position, just a little bit of a dip down, and I’ve got my elbows resting on the bench tops. And then I’m going to start the back bend; of course, to stretch the front line of the body we’ve got a strong back bend element as well. And, when I’m ready I can take as much of the weight of the head and neck back. I can slide the elbows off to the sides as much as I need to.
The beauty of this position here is that I can pull myself forwards and backwards, wherever I need to be to get the stretch that I’m after.I’m breathing deeply into the front of the body. I’m pressing the chest, and the ribs, and the lower abdomen up towards the ceiling. And then I’m letting myself bend back a little bit more. And the very last thing I do in terms of pulling on the stretch through the front of the body is to press the knees as straight as I’m comfortable with; that really winds on that whole front hip/quad line on both sides.
As well, I can add some rotations; so, I’m letting my left hip pull around, the right one goes forwards, and then go the other way.
The rotations can wind on each hip flexor in turn, but also winds on the whole abdominal/rib line on each side.
Just to reiterate, because I’m holding onto the support in this way I can position myself wherever I want to in a forward–back sense. I can also be pulling on the arms to unweight whatever I need to … if it becomes too intense.
To come out of the position, bend the knees again, gently tuck the tail, lift the head up as you breathe in, and then you’ll want to do a little counter pose afterwards, a round out.
Give that one a go!
Find the audio file of this video at https://supplementary-material.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/How+to+do+a+bench+backbend+stretch+_+Tutorial+by+Stretch+Therapy.mp3.