Banana Stretch

Dose

Perform 2 thirty-second holds on each side per day. When you can hold the stretch comfortably for five breaths, progress to the next exercise. Keep using the Banana stretch to maintain mobility.

Purpose

This exercise stretches the muscles that run on the sides of the back and trunk. Releasing these muscles will improve your ability to move the middle and lower parts of your spine, and can reduce pain in the back and hip.

Method

Stand side on to a wall, about a quarter step away from it. Reach the arm that is closest to the wall up as high as you can and place a hand on the wall. Reach the other hand across the body and place it on the wall at chest height for support.

From this position, cross the leg closest to the wall over in front of the far leg, and then lower the close hip towards the wall while pushing the shoulders and chest away from the wall with the arms. This will create a banana shape in the torso when viewed from behind, and you should feel a stretch in the middle of the curve made by the torso. Once a stretch is felt, you can turn the hips slightly away from the wall and drop the hips even further toward the wall, creating a rotational stretch in the back and the side.

Breathe diaphragmatically into the feeling of stretch. Hold this position for five breaths before changing sides. If you are having trouble with breathing diaphragmatically, practice the Standing Diaphragmatic Breathing exercise available in this prescription.

Common Mistakes

• Starting too far away from the wall. This can lead to excessive stress in the arms and reduces the stretch in the torso. If in doubt, stay close to the wall. You can even start with your shoulder touching the wall, and then repeat the stretch at varying distances to see which works best for you. The most important thing is that you are able to rest the hip against the wall and feel a stretch down the side.

• Experiencing shoulder pain when reaching up the wall. Only place the hand as high as you feel comfortable during this exercise. The stretch can still be achieved without the arm fully outstretched with the elbow bent.

Progression Threshold

You should be able to hold this stretch comfortably for five breaths on each side before progressing