Cat Camel Exercise

Video Transcript:

Today we are focusing on the cat camel exercise or the cat camel mobilization. This is a great mobilization to help mobilize your lower back area, specifically the joints in the lumbar spine.

To start with, go on all fours. I’m going to first go into the cat, so I’m going to have my low back come up nice and slowly like this. My head dropped down, my back goes up. That movement going up should take 3-4 seconds.

It then takes me about three or four seconds to come down, into the camel portion, nice and slowly. My head comes, up my back drops down into an arch, about three or four seconds, nice and slowly, nice and controlled. About three or four seconds up about three or four seconds down, my head comes up, my back drops down. This is a very gentle movement.

I’m not forcing it at the end range. It’s a mobilization. It’s not a stretch. I’m not trying to push it as hard as I possibly can. The cat camel stretch is designed to simply bringing motion into my spine, specifically in my lumbar spine.

I want to do about eight to 10 repetitions, just nice and easily. This really shouldn’t take much longer than about a minute. If any of this is painful, please stop. This should not be painful. We are not pushing it at the end range. It is not forced. It’s a nice gradual motion. Just helping to mobilize, to warm up some of the joints in our spine.

Any questions about any of this, please ask.

What is the cat camel exercise?

The Cat Camel is a mobilization of the lower back area, to bring proper movement into the low back and pelvis. This is a great exercise to do before beginning any more intensive low back or core exercise, to warm the area up.

Cat Camel Exercise Instructions:

  • Step 1

    Begin on all fours.

  • Step 2

    Slowly lower your head, while you raise your back up, for the cat portion of the exercise.

  • Step 3

    Do this movement slowly, without forcing or pushing it at the end of the movement, taking 3-4 seconds from neutral to the end of the movement.

  • Step 4

    Start into the opposite movement by slowly raising your head into extension, while dropping your back into a downward arch. Do this movement slowly, and unforced, taking 3-4 seconds again. This is the camel portion.

  • Step 5

    Then return back into the cat pose, again slowly lowering your head, and arching your back up.

  • Step 6

    Aim to do these movements for 8-10 repetitions, to fully mobilize your lumbar spine or low back area. Try to do this 1x/day.

  • Step 7

    None of this should be painful. If it is, please stop, and consider doing the stretch in a more gentle way, less forced way.

  • Step 8

    Once you’ve mobilized your low back, consider adding strengthening exercises to help stabilize it. Refer to the Bird Dog exercise video, Plank exercise video, and the Side Plank exercise video.

Read More About Cat Camel Exercise Below

In this video you will learn how to do the cat camel exercise or stretch, which is a fantastic form of spinal mobilization, and one of the best overall lower back stretches. This exercise is a great warm up for any exercise routine, but especially for low back exercises and stretches.

This video demonstrates how to do the cat camel stretch, so please watch closely for the specific details. A couple things to note: this is a low back mobilization or lumbar mobilization more so than a stretch. Force is not required at the end ranges, in fact, you should move through the range of motion very smoothly and comfortably, without pushing and forcing the low back exercise at the end range.

The cat camel exercise for back pain should be done slowly. Don’t rush through it. Generally, five to ten repetitions up and down is all that is required to mobilize the lumbar spine and mobilize the lumbar joints, to prehab the area, and decrease the likelihood of injury.

This mobilization should not be painful, at any point in the movement. If pain does occur, it is often because you are forcing or pushing the stretch at the end range, which is not required, and not desirable. Move through the motions smoothly and slowly, and if pain does occur, please stop, as an easier variation may be required.

To complement this stretch, consider incorporating a intermediate bird dog exercise, to help stabilize and strengthen this area.

Any questions, please ask.

For further low back exercises, low back stretches, and core exercises, refer to our back pain Toronto condition page here:

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