Lumbar Spine Rocking Stretches

Lumbar Spine Rocking Stretch

What muscles does the lumbar spine rocking stretch target?

Lumbar Extensors

Oblique Abs

Lumbar Spine


How to perform stretch:

Start flat on your back whit knees bent as per the image

Rock knees from side to side


Rectus Femoris is a large muscle that crosses over both hip and the knee joints. It belongs to the Quadriceps muscle group and carries out hip flexion and knee extension.

Tensor Fascia Lata inserts onto the knee through the Iliotibial tract. It is involved in flexion, abduction and internal rotation of the hip joint. Its stretch on the Iliotibial tract extends the knee as well.

With knee flexed, Sartorius muscle carries out flexion, abduction and external rotation at the hip joint.

Internal and External Oblique Abdominals are present at the sides of the trunk. Their fibers run in oblique directions opposite to each other. Bilaterally they provide a supportive embrace to the trunk along with the deep lying Transverse Abdominals muscle. Their unilateral action leads to flexion and rotation of the trunk while contracting bilaterally they flex the whole trunk.

Piriformis belongs to the group of hip rotators; it rotates the hip outwards.

Serratus Posterior fibers when contract bilaterally lead to extension of the trunk, while acting unilaterally they pull the outer edges of the ribs toward the vertebrae bending the trunk to one side.

Other extensors of the trunk include the small deep lying Rotatores and Multifidus muscles. They turn the spine towards opposite whereas their bilateral action leads to trunk extension.


This exercise involves a number of trunk muscles and joints. The twisting action releases muscle stiffness and enhances spinal joint mobility. This stretch not only rotates the hip joints inwards but also extends the usually stiff pelvic (sacro-iliac) joints. This is a great exercise to aid in sports and activities involving turning and twisting of trunk such as swimming, jumping, cycling, running or walking.

Regular Range of Movement:

Without using the bolster, the knees are brought closer to the floor while keeping the arms fixed on the floor.

This action rotates the whole trunk specifically its lower part. Thoracic and Lumbar spine can rotate both ways to a maximum of 45 degrees. The upper hip is pulled towards the midline (adducted) and is rotated inwards. The total extent of both these movements is about 20 to 45 degrees.