Fitness vocab: ELDOA

Pelvic decompression

This pose is designed to create space between the L5/S1 segments of the spine, where the lumbar spine connects to the sacrum in the pelvis.

Instructions: Lie flat on your back on the floor, with your arms above your head (palms facing the ceiling), glutes against a wall, and legs straight up against it. Press your heels toward the ceiling, draw your toes toward your shins, and press your back into the floor. Reach your head and arms up to draw them away from your body, then reach fingers toward the floor so the palms face away from you. Breathe deeply, and hold for 1 minute.

Low-back opener

One of the most common points of spinal pain, the L2/3 segment of the lumbar spine helps to create the natural dip in the low back. But poor posture can dump weight into it, causing compression and pain.

Instructions: Sit on the floor with your legs straight and spread apart as far as possible. Roll your legs inward so your feet are pointing straight up in the air. Pull your toes back toward your knees. With a tall, stacked spine, pull your head back so your chin moves toward your neck and then up toward the ceiling as far as you can. With your arms extended overhead in a V, biceps by your ears, push your hands toward the roof with your wrists extended as far as possible with your fingers folded toward the back of your forearms. Breathe deeply, and hold for 1 minute.

Mid-back release

This stretch hits the thoracic spine, specifically the T6/7 segment. Mobility in this joint is critical to spinal rotation, opposite hand-leg movements when running, and overall athletic performance.

Instructions: Sit cross-legged on the floor, pressing the knees and tailbone into the floor. Pull your head as far away from your tailbone as possible to create a long, straight spine. Shift your head back so your chin moves closer to your neck. Join the palms of your hands and place them on top of your head, with fingertips pointing toward the ceiling, wrists resting on head, elbows pressed back. Breathe deeply. Hold for 1 minute, then repeat with the opposite leg on top.