Back bending is one of the most challenging areas of the flexibility arts. The spine is an extremely complex structure consisting of bones, cartilage, connective tissue, and tons of nerves. You are essentially bending your brain’s tail. Back bending is also special because most of the flexibility gains come from shortening the muscles of your back. Most flexibility training focuses on lengthening muscles. That is why back bending feels so different than other types of stretching and why it requires a specialized, primarily active (strength-based) approach. For ideas on strength-based spinal