The cat-cow, also known as the cat-camel exercise, is a gentle yet effective movement that promotes spinal flexibility, core stability, and improved posture. Performed on all fours, this exercise involves alternating between arching the back (cat) and dipping the spine (cow) to stretch and mobilize the back, neck, and shoulders.

Fitness enthusiasts and athletes will benefit from the cat-cow exercise, as it helps alleviate tension in the spine and strengthens the muscles that support proper posture and core stability. The movement is especially useful for improving spinal mobility, which is essential for daily activities and sports like yoga, weightlifting, and running.

The cat-cow exercise is easily adapted to different fitness levels and can be included in warm-ups, cool-downs, or daily stretching routines. Incorporating it regularly will increase spinal flexibility, reduce lower back discomfort, and promote healthy movement patterns for better posture and functional movement.

Equipment Needed:

Open floor or yoga mat

cat-camel Instructions:

  1. Start on all 4s
  2. Begin the movement by tucking your chin to your chest
  3. As your chin tucks press through your shoulders and tuck your pelvis forward, allowing your upper back to round 
  4. Hold at the top for a 2+ count
  5. Reverse the movement by extending your spine, sticking your butt out and looking as high up as you can
  6. Hold at the bottom for a 2+ count
  7. Doing both motions counts as 1 rep

Common Errors with the cat-cow exercise

Your eyes lead the way. If you aren’t looking up then your neck won’t fully extend. Likewise if you don’t look down fully then it won’t fully flex

Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • Try smaller ranges of motion

If you want more of a challenge:

  • Try doing this from a suspended position (all 4s but with your knees hovering 1-2” off the ground


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