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6 Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

Older man stretching on yoga mat outside.

If you're living with back pain, you know how frustrating it can be. Every movement engages your back in some way, so having back pain can put a real damper on daily life.

If you learn to strengthen your back muscles, it could help improve your range of motion and prevent some back pain.

It can feel overwhelming when it comes to finding the right exercise to strengthen your back, but that’s why we're here! We’ve gathered what we think are the best exercises you can do to strengthen and improve your performance!

Make sure to start with a warmup before beginning any of these exercises by doing 5-10 minutes of moderate cardio to get your blood pumping. Spend another 5 minutes stretching.


1. Gentle Backbend

    Start this exercise by sitting in a chair, feet flat on the floor, and bring your hands to your lower back. Your fingers should be facing down with your thumbs wrapped around your hips facing the front of your body.

    Press your hands firmly into your hips and inhale. When you exhale, gently arch your spine by lifting your chin up so your face is looking at the ceiling.

    Hold this stance for 5 deep breaths and then gently come back to the neutral sitting position. Repeat these steps 3 - 5 times.


    2. Seated Twist

    Starting again with your feet firmly on the ground, keep your knees at a 90-degree angle. Move up on your seat a little but only enough that it still feels sturdy and the chair will not tip forward and become unstable.

    When you inhale, you are going to press down into your seat, sit straight, and lift your arms over your head. Exhaling, turn to your right gently, and place your left hand on the outside of your right knee.

    Twisting too hard can lead to injury, so don't strain yourself.

    Stay in your twist as you inhale, and when you exhale again make your twist a little deeper. Do this 5 times, alternating sides.


      3. Bridging

      Lie down on a flat surface with your knees bent and your hips neutral. Lift your butt up as high as you’re comfortable as you inhale.

      Pause in the air before returning to the laying position during your exhale. Repeat 5-10 times.


      4. Sit Backs

      Sit on a flat surface with your knees bent and your arms crossed over your chest. Breathing out, slowly sit back as far as you are comfortable with. Hold this position for a few seconds.

      Inhale, and return forward to the starting position. Repeat up to 10 times.


      5. Bent Knee Raise

      Laying down on your back, you’re going to keep your knees up and bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles and try to think of your belly button pressing into your spine.

      Lift one of your knees to your chest and hold it for 5 seconds. Return that leg to the floor and switch legs. Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.


      6. Back Extension

      Lay face down on a flat surface with your hands, palm down, besides your face. Bring your head up slowly, arching your back in the process. Push up on your elbows.

      Return to the starting position, and repeat 5-10 times.


      **Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.