My 5 Daily Spondylolisthesis Stretches/Movements – Part 2

spondylolisthesis movement

In Part one of our 6 part series titled “My 5 Daily Spondylolisthesis Stretches/Movements”, I introduced you to the importance of performing a daily warm-up routine and why a lack of movement in combination with aging can create such havoc on the human body.

There is also a very strong possibility that the havoc being created can play a direct impact on your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis.

You can read Part One HERE.

Now we are going to get into the actual stretches or movements I perform for my spondylolisthesis and overall movement on a daily basis.

As a reminder, the ideal situation is for you to get a movement screen from a certified individual and determine what your PERSONAL weaknesses are and work with a rehab specialist to help you develop a few warm up movements designed specifically for you.

If you have yet to do so, we highly recommend you read our disclaimer and ALWAYS speak to your doctor BEFORE starting any new exercise or stretching program.

Also, keep in mind this warm-up is not for all spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis patients. As you probably know by now spondy’s are unique and each situation is different.  If you have severe pain or discomfort present you will want to speak with your medical professionals due to the individual complexity and severity of your situation.

Although this warm-up is at a very basic level, we always preach safety, caution and awareness.

Although this blog series is broken up into 6 different parts, I always do the exercises one after another in the morning after I finish my daily computer work (returning emails, writing on the blog, reading other blogs). This allows me to be consistent and offers a quiet time of the day in my house (before the wife and kid awake).

I encourage you to search for a time of the day that allows you to be consistent and offers privacy. Consistency plus a solid plan will yield the best chances of achieving results.

With all of that stuff out of the way it is time to get moving!


Warm-Up Stretch #1: Deep Body Weight Squat


Why I do It

Almost every single one of us is born with the ability to deep squat.

If you do not believe me, just watch a baby bend over to pick something up or squat down to play with toys. They have the ability to bend at the hips, move at the ankles and easily get into a comfortable position to explore the floor.

I watch my 2 year old son do this on a daily basis.




Although I see several youngsters easily get into this position I hardly ever see adults attain it. When I see an adult bend over to pick something up everyone looks different. They use different muscles and bend at different areas to accomplish the task.

This is a movement we are born with and over time we simply lose it.

To pick something up most adults bend slightly at the knees,  round at the spine and twist and turn at odd angles to reach the object. Placing added weight on a spine in a rounded, flexed position is a recipe for spinal disaster!

As we age and become weaker we also encounter daily activities, injuries, and inactivity that affects our tissues, ligaments and joints.  A combination of these factors in combination with the lack of needing to deep squat simply leads us to stop doing it.

We stop and we lose the ability to do it.

We may become tight, weak, injured, etc and simply cannot perform the movement.

Or we do not have a need to do it and quit.

I have no scientific studies or evidence to back up this thought…….but I would be willing to wager that a majority of those that have spondy’s cannot do a quality deep squatting movement.

Maintaining this important movement quality is a top priority for me.

And to do so, I simply do it…..Daily.

Being able to deep squat requires good hip mobility and flexibility along with stability of important areas in and around the midsection.  All important qualities when it comes to fighting against spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis discomfort.

How to do it

I simply perform a body weight squat (start with feet about shoulder width apart) with a focus of the weight going slightly towards my heels as I squat.

Spondyloliisthesis Exercise

Body Weight Deep Squat – Start

As I lower I keep my feet in the starting position and drop my hips/butt back and towards the ground (like I am sitting down).

I focus on keeping my feet flat and not raising my heels off the ground (this requires good ankle mobility as well). This also keeps me from shifting forward.

I do not use any extra weight or loading, I just use my body weight.

Spondylolisthesis movement

Deep Squat – Bottom Position

When I make it to the bottom I hold for 15 seconds and I do this twice.

While I am in this bottom position, I relax and focus on nice deep controlled breaths.

Regression = Deep Body Weight Squat w/ Forward Hold.

Many or most of you will not be able to deep squat and that is why I included this example stretch. 

Due to pain, past injuries or physical limitations deep squat may prove hard. The deep squat is an advanced movement that requires a ton of coordination, strength and stability. Not to mention flexibility and mobility.

I would recommend starting with this regression and slowly working towards the first example.

Find something to hold on too such as a door frame, counter ledge, back of a couch, or something that can support you and allow you to rely on it for support of your body. One of the best solutions is to open a door and hold onto both sides of the door handle.

I would also recommend placing an elevated object behind you for safety. Something such as a workout bench (as seen in the photo) or a chair would work great.

Spondylolisthesis Movement

Deep Squat Regression – Starting Position (holding onto an object)

As you are holding onto this object, slowly squat down.

Pretend like you are sitting back onto a chair and go as low as you can and hold it for a few seconds.

Maintaining a hold of something will give you some safety and added stability that you may need. Most importantly it will allow you to sit back and keep your feet flat. That is important in this movement.

Do not be too concerned with how low you can go at the beginning. Stay consistent with the movement and over time you will see improvement.

As mentioned before, I would also recommend setting something behind you to sit on for safety in case you fall. Something that is just below parallel for starters would work great.  Then as you progress, you can take this “safety-net” away and focus on getting lower.

Spondylolisthesis Movement

Deep Squat Regression – Finish (holding onto an object and an object behind for safety)

Remember, safety first.

So if you are uncomfortable with this movement I would recommend waiting until you can have someone help you with it. If you are ready to move forward with this example make sure you use our recommendations for safety measures. And always, speak with your medical professional before moving forward with any new exercises or stretches.

There you have it!

The first of my 5 daily stretches.

I perform 2 deep squats and hold each one at the bottom for around 15 seconds. The entire time I focus on relaxing and taking nice deep breaths.

Again, this may be hard for many so start with the regression and work from there.

Make sure you catch part 3 of this series as we will discuss the stretch/movement #2 that I do daily.

Until then, let me know in the comment section below what you think about this movement. I would love to hear your thoughts, feedback or any issues you are having along the way.

 Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber Email Newsletters 

Tags: ,

Leave A Reply (23 comments so far)

  1. michael
    4 years ago

    where can i see all of the stretches? the spondy solution?

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Michael.

      When you say “all of these stretches” I am assuming you are referring to my 5 daily spondylolisthesis stretches. If that is the case I will be posting them one at a time over the next few weeks in a series of blog posts for everyone to see.

      Some of these stretches come from our SpondySolution Home Exercise Program but not all of them. The Home Exercise Program is much more detailed and includes not only stretches, but foam rolling, movement exercises and strengthening exercises. It also includes information on the condition and much, much more.

      I hope this answers your question Michael, if not just respond and I can get back to you..Thanks again for the question!

  2. T.Diane
    4 years ago

    hi, thanks for this. I have found many, many stretches which help me to live w/my grade 2 spondy and related issues. In my experience stretches for hips, quadriceps, gluteals and IT-bands are also quite helpful.
    I look forward to seeing which ones you have found helpful.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Thanks for the input Diane.

      I am very similar to you. The locations you mentioned are all areas that have provided me relief when properly stretched and strengthened. Especially foam rolling the IT Bands. Thanks for the comment and I hope you enjoy the series!

  3. Jacque
    4 years ago

    This feels really good! My problem is getting back up though!

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Jacque,

      Struggling to get up is a strong indicator that weakness and stability issues are present. I would recommend starting with the regression example. Hold onto the door handles and use your arms to assist the body in getting back up. Over time as you become more stable an strong, you can start to use the arms less and legs and body more.

  4. JR
    4 years ago

    Ugh, I cringed as soon as I saw the 2 year old in that position! I have plenty of strength and stability as I can do squats and probably 40 of these (without weight as described) before getting fatigued but I certainly pay for it! It hurts to squat down, when I begin to let the muscles in my back relax it grows in intensity. I can tell that my muscles are tense because I think they are protecting me since it hurts worse to relax them in that position. It’s the same feeling with bringing my knees to my chest.

    I do believe in your exercises though. I have problems that are different than most so I can’t claim that these aren’t beneficial. I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me. For several years I found relief doing a form of Hindu pushups (no swoop / bending the arms).

    I will make this into a regimen just to see if after a couple weeks it makes a difference. Following the premise of sometimes it gets worse before getting better.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi JR,

      Watching a baby move, squat, bend and get into certain positions can make you cringe, I agree with that. It really is unreal how much mobility and flexibility we are born with. As we age we forget about how much movement we really had!

      You make a couple of interesting points. One thing to keep in mind JR is the quality of your movement is what is important…not so much the quantity. Although you can do 40+ of this movement the real question is can you do them with smooth movement and without compensations. Compensations may occur with the volume of movement you are doing. And although you can do the movement, later on the compensations may present themselves with how you feel (pain and discomfort).

      The reason for you pain could be from several things, but it would be pure speculation on my part since I cannot see how you move and bend. You also may be correct with your statement about your back muscles trying to protect. But also think about this….Your mind may be anticipating pain with this movement and then causing your back muscles to tighten in defense. You mind may have become accustom to pain with certain movements and reacts as a defense mechanism. You really would be guessing unless you have an analysis of how you move and your personal weaknesses.

      And like you said, you are still trying to figure what works for YOU. Well said. Everyone is different and not every movement, stretch or exercise is for everyone.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Nancy
    4 years ago

    I have grade 2 spondy and I am able to do this deep squat, so happy to be flexible enough to do this. Looking forward to the next stretches. My hips hurt after doing squats though.

    Thank you.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for the comment. It is a good sign you are able to go through this range of motion. As a word of caution, be careful not to overdue it. Start easy and progress. The hip pain could be muscular or something else. Listen to your body and I hope you enjoy the upcoming stretches!

  6. Nicole
    4 years ago

    I’m on week 2 of the Home Exercise Program, and very excited about finally finding the right exercises to get me moving well again. There has been some unlearning to do over the past 2 years since my diagnosis of a Grade 1 spondylolisthesis at age 60. I’ve always been active, strong and in good shape, but I discovered that some of the weight-training exercises I had been doing with my personal trainer were contributing to some of my Spondy pain. I stopped weight-training, and started researching on the internet over the past several months. This website is the best!!!I It didn’t require much convincing to purchase the Home Exercise Program, and once I have finished the 11 week program, I will continue with your suggestion of the 10 minute warm-up exercises every morning. Your comments, suggestions, instructions & recommendations all makes sense. Unfortunately I have not been able to find anyone in my area to do a movement assessment. I would love to have one done, especially for my workplace, as I work as an operating room nurse. I have self-limited some of my activities through trial and error, but an assessment would certainly identify my weaknesses a lot faster!

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Nicole,

      I am so glad to hear you are finding the right exercises for you situation! I hope our Spondy Home Program continues to provide you with the tools you need to move and feel better!

      Unfortunately and as you have probably already learned the hard way, some popular strengthening exercises that are commonly prescribed for back pain can be problematic for those with spondy’s. It really is all about you and how YOU move. Your plan sounds great. Improve your movement with our home program and then find the movements and stretches that help you the most and comprise a daily routine that fits your situation. This is basically the same plan that I have taken and has helped me continue to improve.

      Also, I would love to help you find some options for movement screening in your area. If you would like, just send me an email at with some information about where you live (location and zip) and what you have looked for. I would be happy to see if I have any contacts or know of anyone in your area that could help you with a movement screen.

      Thanks so much for the comment and I look forward to hearing from you!

  7. Sigrid Haskell
    4 years ago

    You have NO IDEA how much your web side has helped me with understanding and “treating” my spondylolisthesis grade 1 (x-ray). I am sorry that I have not written sooner. Thanks to a daily exercise program (30 min.) in bed before I get up and 20 min. of ice on my lower back during breakfast, I am having so much less pain and can handle the day. I have no insurance now but will go on medicare in March (hurray!!!) and will then look for a good doctor, screening and therapy.
    Concerning this specific exercise (deep body weight squat), I was my whole life able to do this and surprised that others were not. Even now, with my spondy I can do it effortlessly.
    Looking forward to all your help and information and wanting you to know how much I appreciate this web side and you.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hi Sigrid

      The best reward I can get from this site is when people make comments like yours! Thank you so much and I am thrilled that this site has been able to help you so much. That is good news that you are able to perform the deep body weight squat. It is not an easy movement to do and will hopefully provide you with a solid platform to work with once you seek a good doctor, screening and therapy. Keep working on it and do not loose that movement! Best of luck moving forward and if you ever need help in the future do not hesitate to reach out to us. Thanks again!

  8. Andy
    3 years ago

    Spondylolisthesis Stretches/Movements”

    Hi Justin, hope your good. With reference to the this article, do you have a link to the 5 exercises/stretches you mention here?
    Many thanks

  9. Tapsy
    12 months ago

    I think one problem people may have with this is with the knees. I can squat okay just my knees really don’t like it.

    • SpondyInfo
      12 months ago

      Hi Tapsy. Its important to remember that all exercises and stretches are not meant for everyone. Past injuries, movement issues and pain levels may make exercises hard for various individuals. This is a point that I think is very important to remember for readers to remember. I do my best to share what I know and what helps ME personally in the hope that others can learn. But some things may not be possible and work for one reader while another reader my find it uncomfortable. This is why seeking out someone who can physically work with you is always the best option. They can adjust and alter the exercise to meet your specific needs. As always, if you run across an exercise on our site make sure you are comfortable doing it and have your doctors consent before moving forward with it. Thanks!

 Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber Email Newsletters 
 Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber Email Newsletters