Tips and Techniques to do a Backbend
Before attempting a backbend, warm up by doing some stretching exercises. Focus on your arms, shoulder and spine. Include the exercises given below in your workout.
- Stand with your feet apart, maintaining a shoulder-length distance between them.
- Raise your hands such that both arms touch your ears. You can bend them at the elbow with both palms touching each other. This will help in maintaining your balance.
- Bend your head backwards and keep your eyes on your palms. Watch your hands.
- Now, let your shoulders lean backwards. Start arching your back and go down slowly. You shouldn't hurry with these movements, go as slowly as possible and you will be able to maintain your balance. Keep watching your hands.
- This is an awkward position; hence, you will require your feet to be firmly planted on the ground.
- When your fingertips touch the ground, turn your wrists outward and let your palms rest on the ground for a second. Keep going till you let your elbows rest on the ground, to support your weight.
- Now, rest your forearms on the ground, and using small and slow movements, try to get as close as possible to your knees. Your goal is to rest your chin directly below your knees.
Bending backwards and then regaining your erect posture, puts a lot of strain on your thigh muscles. Strengthening them is an important step in contortion backbend training. Kneel on a soft cushion and lean backwards maintaining your thighs, waist, shoulders and head, in a straight line. You can wear knee pads, if you want. Note that if you have any sorts of knee problems, do not attempt this exercise, as it puts a lot of strain on the knees.
Let us take a look at the primary muscles involved in helping you perform a backbend.
The abdominal muscles are vital in controlling the backward descent of your body as well as when you regain your erect posture. You can strengthen these muscles by doing sit-ups. Lie down on your back, facing upwards, on the floor. Bend your knees with both feet resting on the floor. Raise your head by supporting it with your hands, and curl your shoulders towards your thighs. Don't apply force on your head.
The gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles help maintain your balance, when you bend backwards. These muscles can be strengthened by performing hip-hike exercises. Stand sideways with one leg on a step and the other one dangling in the air. Raise the side of the hip on the free leg, and then after a few seconds, let it fall back in place. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
The iliopsoas are muscles that are affected in a serious way, if you sit for long hours on a chair; hence, you must consider strengthening them. Otherwise, your backbend too will be a restricted one. These muscles join the lower end of the spinal cord, with the thigh bone. To strengthen these muscles: stand by leaning against the wall and then lift your knee, till it is perpendicular to your body. After 15-20 seconds, let it fall slowly. Repeat the exercise with other leg.
Pelvic Floor Muscles
These set of muscles join the pelvic bone to the tail bone. Developing this muscles will bring stability to your backbends and support to your back muscles.
You will have to exercise for at least a couple of hours daily. You will have to be patient, work hard and invest time. Your age and the flexibility of your body will be the deciding factor, whether you can perform a contortion backbend successfully or not. The bright side of the training is, you will be a lot fitter than you are now, whatever the outcome may be.