Prayer Stretch

Prayer Stretch

The Prayer Stretch is a gentle yet effective exercise aimed at relieving tension in the back and shoulders while stretching the muscles around the spine. Commonly used in yoga and physical therapy, this stretch involves a kneeling position with the arms extended forward on the ground, mimicking the posture of prayer. It’s particularly beneficial for opening up the lower back, hips, and shoulders, making it ideal for those who experience stiffness due to prolonged sitting or intense physical activity.

This exercise targets the thoracic spine, stretches the latissimus dorsi muscles, and promotes hip flexion, enhancing overall flexibility and reducing the risk of muscle tightness. The Prayer Stretch helps decompress the spine, promotes relaxation in the back muscles, and improves mobility in the thoracic region. It’s particularly useful for those involved in sports that require back mobility and strength, such as gymnastics, weightlifting, and rowing.

Integrating the Prayer Stretch into your routine can provide immediate relief from back discomfort and contribute to long-term spinal health. It’s a simple, accessible stretch that requires no equipment and can be performed anywhere. Regular practice of the Prayer Stretch can significantly enhance your flexibility, aid in muscle recovery, and support proper posture, all of which are essential for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

Equipment Needed

Open floor or yoga mat

Prayer Stretch Instructions:

  1. Start on all fours
  2. Sit back on your heels, let your chest fall towards the floor and 
  3. Press your arms overhead with hands wider than shoulder-width
  4. Lift one hand and place it on top of the other 
  5. Actively press the chest and shoulder of the top hand towards the floor. You should feel a lat and/or chest stretch
  6. Hold for a 5 count
  7. Repeat as prescribed and switch sides

Common Errors

  • Make sure you spread your hands wide enough to get a good stretch
  • Relax and breathe into each stretch

Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • N/A

If you want more of a challenge:

  • N/A

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