Starting Position: Lie prone (on stomach) on a mat with your legs extended, toes pointing away from you, and place your hands directly under your shoulders with your fingers pointed forward and elbows positioned close to the sides of your body. Align your head level with your thoracic (upper) spine and attempt to maintain the alignment throughout the exercise.
Gently exhale and press your upper body upwards, by extending your elbows and hinge from your hips (i.e., increase the arch in your low back). Continue moving upwards until you reach the point of tension, but avoid bouncing or pushing to the point of pain. As you extend your elbows, your hips and upper thighs will begin to lift off the mat, but avoid lifting your knees off the floor and performing a push-up movement. Hold this position for 15 – 30 seconds then slowly return downwards to your starting position and repeat the movement 2 – 4 times.
The objective of this exercise is to extend your spine and hips, stretching the muscles on the front side of your trunk and hips, and not a strengthening exercise for your chest and arms.
To maximize the benefits of this exercise and reduce the potential for injury, it is important to control your movement speed, carefully monitoring for any symptoms of pain in your spine or hips. Be sure to differentiate the feeling of tightness from pain.