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.
- 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
- 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