A strong back supports your whole body and leaves you less susceptible to pain and injury. It doesn’t take much—just a few at-home back exercises—to increase strength and improve your posture. Strong back muscles can even help you succeed in your cardio fitness goals like training for a 5K or marathon or completing a new aerobics class.
The below exercises are some of my favorites for back strength because they require no additional equipment and can be performed just about anywhere. Before attempting these at-home back exercises, make sure your back is healthy and please talk to your doctor before starting any new routines, especially if you have ongoing back issues.
Bird dogs are fantastic exercises because they work your entire core including your back, abs, hips, and glutes. Start by positioning yourself on the floor on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Tighten your abs as you simultaneously lift your left leg and right arm. Extend your leg and arm until they’re both parallel to the floor. Keep your spine straight as you gently lower your left leg and right arm back to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg and left arm, and continue to alternate limbs until you complete the move five to 10 times on each side.
Superman (or Woman)
If you’re looking to focus on back strength, the superman exercise is ideal. Start by lying facedown on your exercise mat with your arms (palms down) and legs extended. Then lift your arms and legs off the ground like you’re flying (hence the name), and use your back muscles to lift your chest up off the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then repeat the move five to 10 times.
Reverse Snow Angels
Who didn’t love making angels in freshly fallen snow as a child? Tap into inspiration from your youth to strengthen your back with reverse snow angels. Begin by lying facedown on an exercise mat with your arms stretched out over your head (palms facedown again) and your legs stretched out behind you. Lift your chest, arms, and legs slightly and quickly move your arms and legs apart—just like you used to do when you made snow angels. Repeat at least 10 times, and continue to add repetitions as you get stronger.
Hip hinges are simple at-home back exercises that use your own body weight and keep your core engaged. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-length apart and holding your posture straight. Tighten your abs, and slowly bend forward at your hips until your torso is between vertical and parallel to the floor. Slowly return to the starting position, and repeat 10 times. To make this move effective, it’s important to keep your core engaged and your back perfectly straight throughout each repetition.
Spinal Trunk Rotation
Now it’s time for some stretching! Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet up off the ground like you’re sitting in a chair. Begin with your knees and hips at 90-degree angles, and place your palms on the floor. Slowly bring your knees down to the floor to the right side while keeping both shoulders flat on the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before repeating on the other side. If one side is tighter than the other, feel free to repeat the move or hold it for an extended amount of time.
You don’t need fancy weight training equipment to create a strong back. Whether you’re looking for exercises to relieve back pain or for a core workout to increase strength, if you start slowly and stay consistent, anyone can achieve positive results with a few simple moves.
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This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.