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American Family Children's Hospital

Cat Back Stretch

The cat back stretch is a gentle stretch that can help improve your spine range of motion. This stretch can be helpful to combat the stiffness and postural changes that are common with our sedentary lifestyles.
  • Start with your body weight evenly distributed on hands and knees. Your knees should be under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Start with a neutral spine position (flat back), engage your abdominal muscles by gently drawing your belly up and in toward your spine. Your back should be long, your head in line with your spine. Your chest should be open, try to bring your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Arch your back, draw your belly up and in. Spread your shoulder blades wide and press gently into your hands.
  • Return to start position.
  • Let your belly slowly release toward the floor, allowing your tail bone to tip up toward the ceiling. Your back will move into a sway back position. Try to open your chest gently forward, you may look forward and up if it is safe for your neck and feels good.
  • Return to start position.
Perform this exercise in a slow and controlled manner. You may move from arched to sway back in a gentle flow, or you may choose to hold each position for 2 – 5 seconds. Repeat 4 to 12 times.
Cat Back Stretch

Begin with weight evenly distributed.

Arch your back, draw belly up and in.


Return to start position.

Let your belly slowing release to floor.