3 Exercises For Spine Movement

Your vertebral discs have almost no direct blood supply.

Our spinal column is made up of bones, or vertebrae, with squashy intervertebral discs sandwiched in between. The intervertebral discs do the important jobs of cushioning and adding extra protection, yet they have almost no direct blood supply rely on the surrounding tissue for nutrients.


One of the best ways to ensure the supply of nutrients is through moving the spine.

Varied movement example ONI

Varied movement is important.

When we think of a strong back we tend to think of a stiff, rigid spine and not a flexible one. So why is it important to develop varied movement in our spine? While it is important to have strength, the truth is we don’t spend the majority of our time in a perfect deadlift or squat position. We’re humans and as such, our daily lives can involve rounded backs, twisting, and other movements that aren’t often trained in the gym setting.

To create a more robust body, it is important to be strong in these varied positions too.


Move it or lose it.

Over time our bodies will adapt to whatever demands are placed on it. The flipside is the reverse holds true; anything we don’t use will be lost. A lot of us develop stiffness in our spines from long hours at the desk and other sedentary activities. With more than 20 moving parts to the spine it’s important to use them all and in each direction to ensure they can still function.

Otherwise we lose our ability to adopt optimal positions and run the risk of overuse and injury.

Try these exercises in your morning routine or pre workout warm up for a healthy and supple spine!

1. Jefferson Curl

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and keep your leg's straight throughout the movement.

  • Roll your vertebrae down one after the other in a cascade.

  • Start by with tucking your chin, then leaning forward as if you were rolling over the top of an imaginary wall and engage your abdominal's to slowly fold yourself.

  • Then reverse the movement, again engaging your abdominals to stack yourself up vertebrae upon vertebrae, starting with your lower spine, mid spine, neck and finally head.

  • Keep the movement fluid. Adding a little weight (2-6 kg) can assist in deepening your range.

2. Windmill

  • Take your feet wider than shoulder width apart and hinge forward at the hips till your body is parallel to the floor.

  • Draw in your abdomen, and if you're like most people who are used to rounding their upper back, lift your chest slightly to straighten your mid back.

  • Reach the top of your head forward and your hips backward to maximise length in your spine.

  • Then, reach one arm to the ground and the other straight up to the ceiling, paying particular attention to your obliques.

  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then switch arms, with the other now reaching for the floor/ceiling.

  • You can make the movement more dynamic by more quickly switching between the positions, but make sure to keep your abdominals engaged.

3. Spinal Flow

  • Start with segmental movements of the spine, then play!

Give these a go and let us know how you get on! Don't forget to share the love to somebody working on their spinal movements!

Author: Carsten Waterworth | ONI Massage Therapy