Working a 9-5 job and sitting in front of a computer all day means that your back is slouched over for a long period of time, and this can leave you with back pain at the end of the day. The Cobra can be a great counteraction to a sedentary lifestyle by improving your spine mobility as it stretches the entire front of the body and vertebrae, from the chest to the abdomen and even the hip flexors.
What is the Cobra?
Including the Cobra stretch in your cooldown is a great way to relieve tension from your workout while improving the mobility of the spine. These types of stretches are perfect to help your overall mindset and wellness.
An added benefit is that it will help you control your breathing as it opens the abdomen and rib cage muscles to allow you to breathe more freely. The focus on breathing allows for your body to find its natural rhythm and shake off stressors from the day.
What muscles does the Cobra target?
The Cobra mainly stretches your abdominal muscles and hip flexors.
Including it in your cooldown also offers other health and fitness benefits. This pose contracts the dorsal muscles in the lumbar region of the spine which can help with toning and flushing out the kidneys.
Additionally, by expanding the chest and providing the lungs with more space to expand, the Cobra allows for deeper breathing. This pose can even invigorate the nervous system and help align the spinal column.
How do I properly perform the Cobra?
If you have never heard of the Cobra before you are probably wondering what exactly it is. To perform this stretch, begin by lying down on your stomach, with your hands under your shoulders.
Then, while keeping your legs straight, push up through your hands to raise your upper body. Keep your arms straight and your hips on or as close to the ground as possible and feel the stretch in your abs, holding the position for between 15 and 30 seconds.
Remember that you can always check the tutorial videos in the Freeletics app to see the Cobra demonstrated from multiple angles.
Additional things to keep in mind when training
The Cobra stretch is great for lengthening and stretching out your abdominal muscles and helping to ease back pain, however, if you are executing it incorrectly and experiencing strong or acute back pain during this move you should stop immediately or adjust your body accordingly.
To ensure a pain-free Cobra stretch and take your cooldown to the next level, make sure you do the following:
- Release Tight Muscles
Instead of engaging your glutes, which can create unnecessary stress on your lower back, relax them, and roll your inner thighs up and inwards.
- Play with Hand Placement
To make more space for your spine to arch, try placing your hands a few inches farther forward instead of directly beneath the shoulders.
Exercise overview by David Weiner, Training and Nutrition Specialist