If you’re on your feet all day, walking or standing around, you might be feeling that your lower back starts hurting and that it gets more and more uncomfortable to stand upright. We’ve gathered a set of 5 exercises you can do for a stronger back.
You won’t need any costume, but rather a yoga mat to perform this exercise. Start lying on the floor, face down to extend your neck. Extend your arms in front of you. Lift both your arms and legs off the floor (keep all parallel to the floor). Hold a few seconds at the top of the movement, then release back down.
This exercise will allow you to gain strength on muscles along your spine, from your upper back to your lower back… and even glutes, hamstrings and abs!
Renegade rows are efficient for upper back and shoulder strength. Grab a pair of dumbbells and get in a high-plank position, shoulders directly over your wrists, and your dumbbells in your hands.
Alternate rowing with your left and right hand, pulling up your dumbbell towards your belly/hip. Your arm should slide behind you and your elbow shouldn’t turn outwards – allowing your upper back and shoulders to squeeze and strengthen.
If you have access to a gym, you might have seen many fellow gym goers’ rep barbell deadlifts. They are excellent compound movements, which can help you to build back muscles but also hit the entire posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, calves…)
Make sure to first select a lighter weight to be able to learn the right form before adding on weight plates. Without proper form, it is very common to put too much pressure on your back and risk injury.
Start out feet hip-width apart, slightly turned outwards to protect your knees; your barbell should be just in front of you. Hinge from your hips and bend your knees to reach the barbell. Grab your barbell, push on your heels and push back to standing. When coming back up, make sure that your back doesn’t round, engaging your abs, looking forward and squeezing your glutes.
Considering your gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles of your body, using its strength will allow you to perform deadlifts easier and try heavier weights (that might not be tolerable or safe only using back strength).
American kettlebell swings
Another compound movement that can really help you develop overall back strength are American kettlebell swings.
Start standing with your feet hip width apart, slightly turned outwards and grab the kettlebell with both of your hands. Hinge and swing the kettlebell between your legs. Your knees should remain straight but unlocked, and your back straight.
Swing the kettlebell back up, while squeezing your glutes and lifting your weight up to over your head. Make sure to avoid using your arms strength, but instead use your legs and hips strength to swing.
Don’t just work on specific back strength exercises! To avoid this lingering pain, studies also suggest working on deep abdominal muscles (like the transverse) to relieve pain. A strong core will contribute to support your back and develop a balanced silhouette and resistance to fatigue.
Lie down on your yoga mat, on your right side with both of your legs straight, stacked on top of each other or slightly one in front of each other to remain balanced. Place your right elbow under your right shoulder. Your forearm will be parallel to the short side of the mat, and your body will remain at a 90% angle. Brace your core and lift your hips off the floor. Your body should be in a straight line, and your right-side abs should feel tensed. Hold the position for 15 to 60 seconds before you change sides.