Your spine is an integral part of every single movement you do. Every single second, of every single day, your spine is involved in keeping you alive.
Your spine is responsible for more than you may realize. Your spine:
- creates, stabilizes and facilitates movement all over your body;
- is an attachment site for your diaphragm, which is your most important skeletal muscle; and
- protects your central nervous system which enables your brain to send and receive signals to and from the rest of your body.
A chronic issue many people face with their spine is low back pain. It is estimated that eighty percent (80%) of people, at some point in their life, suffer from low back pain. If you are one of those people, consider taking a proactive approach to keeping your spine in good working order. Segmental “cat-cows” are a great way to get started.
What is a segmental cat-cow?
The goal of a segmental cat-cow is to move your spine from an extended position to a flexed position (and vice versa) one (1) joint at a time.
Why should you incorporate segmental cat-cows into your fitness routine?
Our joints need movement for survival. However, the thirty-three (33) bones in our spine often move in groups or chunks because we don’t practice moving them one joint at a time often enough. Imagine if you couldn’t bend your finger at every single knuckle? That would certainly create a lot of issues in your every day life.
How often should you incorporate segmental cat-cows into your fitness routine?
To ensure you’re moving in as many ways as possible you should attempt to do all 4 variations of this movement daily. Good news, it will not take very long to do, and you can do it just about anywhere!
How to do a segmental cat-cow:
This movement is more difficult than it looks. Try not to get frustrated despite the fact your first attempt will not likely be successful. If the movement creates or aggravates pain, STOP immediately and seek advice from a professional who can assesses the reason(s) for your pain.
There are many modifications that can be made to make the movement easier, harder, or different to fit individual needs. Below are videos of the four main variations of a segmental cat-cow. Give them a try!
Variation 1: Start flexed, move the head first, working your way down the spine to your tail bone, finish extended.
Variation 2: Start flexed, move tailbone first working your way up the spine to your head, finish extended
Variation 3: Start extended, move tailbone first, working your way up the spine to your head, finish flexed.
Variation 4: Start extended, move head first, working your way down the spine to your tailbone, finish flexed.
Need more help?
Stephen Cornely LMT CPT
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I am a licensed massage therapist & strength & mobility specialist in Philadelphia PA. My passion is to help people take control of their body so that they can do anything and everything they require of their body.-->