WRITER: Giancarla Aritao ● PHOTOS: Lawrence Aritao  ● MODEL: Theod Rehnzo Custodio ● PROGRAM COACHES: Rica Rodriguez and Divine Masinsin of Dynamic Duo Inc. ● Shot on location at Fitness Army BGC

The backbend – and its many variations – is a staple in many exercise routines because is easy to do. You do not need a lot of space. You do not need any equipment. Unlike other exercises that require jumping or other big movements, the backbend is straightforward. It can be done easily even by beginners.

But the backbend should not be underestimated. When it is done properly, it can strengthen the back effectively. It can also provide relief from the aches that come with prolonged sitting or bending over desks. Even the ever-popular yoga uses the backbend as the base of many of its sequences. It is used to encourage deep breathing and to release tension.

Rica Rodriguez and Divine Masinsin of Dynamic Duo Inc. shows us how to maximize the basic backbend by adding some modifications. By adding side bends, you can also strengthen the obliques and lower back. Just make sure that you have not had any recent back or neck injuries when doing these moves.

Step 1: Start with your feet at hip distance with your arms raised over your head. Your palms should be facing each other.

Step 2: Bend to your right. Keep your arms stretched with the fingers engaged. The bend should squeeze your right side without overexerting your body. Your neck should be relaxed and keep your eyes straight ahead.

Step 3: Twist your body down so you end up facing the floor. Support your spine by keeping your stomach muscles engaged. Maintain the stretch of your arms and your fingers. Keep your eyes on the floor.

Step 4:  Turn your body so that you are facing up and to the left. Your hips should press forward. Support the weight of your body with your abdominal muscles. Keep your arms near your ears and ensure that you are stretching strong up to your fingertips.

Step 5: Return to your position in Step 3.

Step 6: Return to starting position.

Step 7: Repeat the steps 1 to 6, this time bending to your left. You can do four repetitions on each side.

Giancarla Aritao

Giancarla Aritao is wife to Lawrence and mom to Hannah, 7, and Rafael, 4. She’s a homeschooler and a writer.