If you practice yoga regularly, you’re probably familiar with wheel pose.
And while certain sports—gymnastics and wrestling, for example—give wheels the focus they deserve, most average gym-goers skip this exercise completely, a huge mistake. Because not only will wheels make you stronger, more flexible, and keep you injury-free, they add an element of fun to your workouts and bring out your inner kid.
And you don’t even have to do them that often to benefit your health, since including wheels in your workout just once or twice a week can give you all the benefits this incredible exercise has to offer.
Here are 5 reasons to do wheels more often:
1. They can help get rid of back pain.
If you’re like most people, you probably sit at your computer 8 to 10 hours a day, and log a few more hours at home and in the car. All that sitting can lead to lower back pain, which affects 31 million Americans at any given time.
Because wheels open up the spine, they can help counteract all that sitting, even if you aren’t actually moving any more than usual. The result is less back pain, even if you do them just a couple of times a week.
2. They bulletproof the spine.
Doing this pose regularly will strengthen your spinal muscles, which can prevent slipped discs and other injuries.
What’s more, regular wheel practice can bulletproof the spine and prepare it for heavy or explosive movements like running, weights or HIIT—so you can train hard in whatever sport or activity you love and remain injury-free.
3. They’re awesome for flexibility.
If you’ve ever actually tried them, you’ll know that wheels give you an amazing stretch, not just in your spinal muscles, but also in your shoulders and hips.
So if you have extra tight shoulders, back muscles, or hips, adding wheels to your routine is a fantastic way to open them up! Depending on your level of tightness and flexibility you may want to start with modified, half bridges rather than the full thing.
Tip: add some foam rolling to your fitness routine for extreme flexibility!
4. They work a lot of muscles.
Doing a proper wheel pose not only works every muscle in your back (including the really important spinal muscles), it also activates nearly every muscle in your entire body.
From your quads to your glutes, your calves to your arms and shoulders, they’re all being strengthened in a wheel. So while many people view wheels as a flexibility exercise, they’ll actually make you really strong as well.
5. They strengthen your lungs.
When you get into a wheel pose, you’re opening your chest to allow greater air flow to your lungs. Consistent back-bending this way will strengthen your lungs like no other exercise can. Just don’t forget to breathe, or you won’t get the full lung-strengthening benefits!
So start building wheels into your daily routine, and be amazed how much stronger, more flexible, and pain-free you feel on a daily basis!