The gym has equipment that can help you maximize the benefits of your back stretches. Some of the main equipment you'll use includes the exercise ball. It's important with back stretches to make sure you're using proper form in order to avoid injury. Working with a personal trainer can help you set up an exercise program that fits for your body and is safe and effective. Never stretch in a way that feels uncomfortable or straining.
Back Bends with an Exercise Ball
It's important to find an exercise ball that's the right size for your height and ability level. Sit on the ball and walk forward while leaning back onto the ball. Your upper back should be draped over the ball and your arms to your side. Try having the exercise ball hit your back at different places to stretch the lower back versus the upper back.
Forward Bends with an Exercise Ball
Lie on top of the ball with the ball hitting the chest. Walk forward to let the ball roll more toward the waist. Then put your hands behind your back and raise the arms as far as you comfortably can if you can maintain your balance on the ball.
Side Bends on the Exercise Ball
Lie sideways on the exercise ball. If you're on your left side, raise the right arm over the right ear and walk up and back on the ball to change the area that's stretched.
Upper Back Stretches with a Stretch Band
Most gyms have stretch bands that can help you work your upper back. Grasp the band as wide as it is from ear to ear. Put each hand by each ear. Flex the band out to the side until your arms are extended. Then grasp the band with your hands next to each other. Put your arms straight up and alternate flexing one hand in front of the other.
Side Bends with Free Weights
Free weights can enhance a side body and back stretch. Use a weight that's not so heavy that it's a strain to hold. For a right side body bend, take the weight in your left hand. As you raise your right arm over your ear and bend to the left, let the weight pull you down a bit farther to expand the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Upper Back Stretches with Free Weights
Take two free weights that are a comfortable weight for you. Pull your arms behind you at chest level with your elbows bent. Stretch your arms in front of you without any bending. Repeat, going back to the elbows bent starting position. Move slowly so that you feel the stretch in your upper back.