Workout Wednesday – Back Stretches Part 1

We know that it has been harder for people to stay active over these last several weeks. Christina Lombardi, DPT PT has put together easy stretches to get you moving at home! Each Wednesday for the next several weeks we will share these stretches with you. Each stretch includes descriptive information and a video to demonstrate how to do it. This week will be part 1 of back stretches. Check back next Wednesday for part 2 of back stretches.


Lying down Double Knee to Chest

  • Muscles: Glute muscles, hamstrings, lower back
  • Movement:
    • Lie on your back and bend both legs
    • Place your hands around your thighs
    • Then, gently pull your legs up towards your chest
    • Return to starting position and repeat 
  • Recommended Guideline:
    • Begin with 2-3 sets and hold for 20-30 seconds
    • If that is too difficult, you can try 10 sets holding for 5-10 seconds
  • Key Points:
    • Do NOT rock or hold your breath

Lying down Single Knee to Chest

  • Muscles: Glute muscles, hamstrings, lower back
  • Movement:
    • Version 1 (with hands): Lie on your back and bend both legs. Place your hands around your one thigh. Then, gently pull your leg up towards your chest. Return to starting position and repeat. 
      • You can also straighten your opposite leg for a deeper stretch
    • Version 2: Lie on your back and place a towel/strap/belt around the undersurface of your thigh. Hold both ends of and use your arms to pull up your leg towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch. Return to starting position and repeat. 
  • Recommended Guideline:
    • Begin with 2-3 sets and hold for 20-30 seconds
      • If that is too difficult, you can try 10 sets holding for 5-10 seconds
  • Key Points:
    • Do NOT rock or hold your breath

Standing Lumbar Extension

  • Muscles: Lower back
  • Movement:
    • Version 1: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Use a countertop for support. Gently lean backwards. Pause for a few seconds. Then, slowly return back to the starting the position. 
    • Version 2: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Gently, lean backwards. Pause. Then, slowly return back to the starting position.  
  • Recommended Guideline:
    • Try performing 10 reps. Pause for a few seconds
  • Key Points:
    • Do NOT rock or hold your breath

Forward Bend

  • Muscles: Glute muscles, hamstrings, lower back
  • Movement:
    • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
    • Slowly lean towards the floor
      • Do not arch your back
      • You can use support to assist you with safety
    • You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs and lower back  
  • Recommended Guideline:
    • Begin with 2-3 sets and hold for 20-30 seconds
      • If that is too difficult, you can try 10 sets holding for 5-10 seconds
  • Key Points:
    • Keep your knees straight
    • Do NOT rock or hold your breath
    • Do NOT round your back/neck

Disclaimer: You should discuss your health risks with your provider before starting any exercise program.


Christina graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology/Secondary Education from West Chester University. She continued her studies at Temple University in Physical Therapy, graduating with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy in May 2015. Christina began her career in outpatient physical therapy and has worked per diem in both the acute and rehabilitation care settings. She treats a variety of orthopedic and neurological diagnoses in her current role as a staff therapist for Good Shepherd Penn Partners. Recently, Christina developed an interest in Oncology. Last year, Christina’s dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and her cousin with ovarian cancer. In addition, within the past year, a few of Christina’s friends have also been diagnosed with cancer. Because of her love for family and friends and her passion for physical activity and wellness, she realized that she could help touch so many lives. Christina joined the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association in May 2019 and is beginning to take continuing education courses to develop her clinical knowledge and expertise. She instructs indoor cycle classes and has her Level 1 CrossFit Certification. She enjoys  various forms of exercise and other health and wellness related activities and topics. 

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