The cat stretch is a great mobilization exercise for the spine as well as a back strengthening exercise. We are looking at the cat stretch as a stretching tool in this blog.

Set yourself up as shown below

  • Align your knees with your hips and your hands with your shoulders
  • The spine is in a neutral alignment meaning that there is no posterior or anterior tilt visible in the pelvic floor
  • Eye line is about 30cm in front of the hands
  • Shins are pressed down into the floor creating a lift out of the hip sockets; a feeling of weightlessness
  • The same applies to the hands; they press down into the floor to create a lift out of the shoulder sockets.

Cat stretch set up 1

  • Start with your tailbone (coccyx); tip the tailbone down towards the floor (posterior tilt)
  • The spine follows the cue of the tailbone and a ripple effect happens which finishes in the cervical spine
  • continue pressing the floor downwards until your spine curls up to the ceiling
  • keep your shoulder blades wide; no tension in the neck
  • again start isolating the tailbone and move it towards an anterior tilt (tailbone to the ceiling)
  • the rest of the spine follows this movement vertebrae by vertebrae until the neck and shoulders are extended as shown in below photo.
  • make sure that your stomach muscles are pulled up against the spine and not hanging down towards the floor

 

Cat stretch down 3

Cat stretch up 2

 

  • finish your exercise in the neutral alignment as shown in the beginning of the exercise
  • Repeat 8-10 times to warm up and mobilise the spine

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