One way to get a good stretch is with an exercise ball. Many people like these because you can stretch your back without straining it and other muscles. And like with pilates, exercise ball stretching helps strengthen your core muscles, including your back. If you are new to the exercise ball, chose one that is soft and not 100% inflated. These are just a little bit easier to work on than hard balls. As with other stretches, do these exercise ball stretches slowly and smoothly, hold for about ten seconds (longer if you can), and repeat ten times.
BACK ARCH: Sit on the ball as if it is a chair. Walk your feet forward so that the ball rolls under your back until your rear end is on the ground. Place your hands behind your head and slowly push yourself back up so that you roll backwards over the ball.
BACK FLOOR PRESS: Lie on the floor with the ball under your knees and legs over it. Arms should be resting at your sides. Pull your belly button towards your spine and hold. Remember to keep the rest of your muscles relaxed. As you get more comfortable with this exercise, you can do it while lifting your arms a few inches off the floor, as in the pilates Hundred.
BALL SQUATS: Stand with ball between your back and a wall, with feet hip width apart. Keeping your back straight, bend knees until they at ninety degrees and thighs are parallel to the floor. The exercise ball will roll up your back. Hold and return to starting position.
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