Rotation stretch for the trunk and lower back

Download the PDF instructions - click on the link at the bottom of the page 

This is a very effective stretch of the lower back and trunk suitable for older children and parents. It is particularly good for moms and dads with some lower back pain and those with tight hamstrings.

This exercise should not cause any pain - so if you do have low back pain, go very gently and stop if you experience pain doing the exercise.

Video demonstration: Floor sitting trunk rotation stretches 


Start by assessing forward reach in long sitting. 

How far can you reach with your finger tips keeping your knees straight? Reach as far as you can without causing any discomfort. 

When you do reach further, where do you feel the discomfort? 

long sitting reach.jpg

Exercise instructions 

1  Sit on an exercise mat with your legs in about 300 of flexion and lateral rotation, and the knees in about 30of flexion. 

trunk rotation floor 1.jpg

2  Place your left hand flat on the mat level with your hip.

3  Rotate the trunk forwards on the right and place your right hand flat on the floor in line with your other hand, and shoulder width apart. 

trunk rotation floor 2.jpg   trunk rotation floor 3.jpg

4  Take a deep breath in and then breathe out slowly for 4 counts, at the same time moving your right hand a little forwards

Your should feel a comfortable stretch in your trunk. 

5  Now take another deep breath and move your right hand forwards as you breathe out for 4 slow counts. 

6  Repeat the breath-in-breathe-out-reach forwards sequence 2 more time. 

7  Hold the stretched position for 10 slow counts. 

trunk rotation floor 5.jpg

Side flex and reach 

8  Next drop down onto your forearm, positioning the forearm in line with your pelvis. 

The trunk should be slightly flexed 

trunk rotation floor 6_1.jpg

9  Elevate your left arm and reach over your head.

10 Take a deep breath in to the count of 4. 

  You will feel a stretch on your ribs. 

11 Now reach a little further, breathing out at the same time to the count of 4. 

trunk rotation floor 7.jpg

12  Maintain the stretched position and breathe in to the count of 4.

13  Reach a little further as you breath out to the count of 4. 

14 Repeat the breathe-in-stretch-and-breathe-out sequence 2 more times. 

15 Maintain the stretched position for 10 slow counts, breathing normally. 

trunk rotation floor 8.jpg

Repeat 1-15 to the other side. 

trunk rotation floor 11.jpgtrunk rotation floor 10.jpg


Reassess your reach in long sitting 

Can you reach forwards further before you experience discomfort? 

You can see the changes in forward reaching the occurred when I did this stretch. 

trunk rotation floor 12_1.jpg

Return to Principles of active stretching 

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