The C-shaped spine that comes with prolonged slumping puts you into a persistent trunk flexion pattern. Trunk extension exercises can help undo this pattern.
The quickest and simplest way to begin to extend your trunk is to stand up and:
- place your hands on your hips, fingers resting on the front of your hip bones and thumbs on the back, and
- bend your upper body backwards, keeping your neck and torso long and initiating the motion in your low back.
That’s a move that many office workers do instinctively after a long spell of sitting. There are many other ways to reverse the trunk flexion pattern.
This video shows how to extend your trunk lying face down on the floor.
If you have difficulty lifting your torso, or if you are experiencing low-back pain, you can do a more passive version of trunk extension, as this video shows.
This video gives more detail on the trunk extension movement.
This video shows how you can also lift your legs to add more effort. Note how the model’s body assumes a backward C-shape – the opposite of what you do at your desk all day.
This video shows a version of the “locust” yoga pose, which adds shoulder retraction as well as leg extension to the trunk extension (and adds a quick low-back stretch at the end).
This video shows how to use a Bosu ball to add a bit more range to the trunk extension motion.
This video shows how an exercise ball can let you add some variety to the trunk extension motion.
This video shows how to do a more difficult version of trunk extension in the gym, with or without weights. I like how this exercise focuses specifically on trunk extension – notice how the trainer’s hips and legs are fixed in position throughout the exercise.