Great Back Exercises to Build Strength
The superman exercise.
Also known as the airplane, this is one of my favorites. Lie across a large exercise ball on your chest. Spread your legs for stability, and keep your toes on the floor. Raise your back and arms. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat three times.
The shoulder and leg raise.
Here’s a more strenuous version of the Superman. Lie flat on your stomach (with a small pillow under your abdomen) with your hands at your sides and lift your upper body off the ground. Hold for 10 seconds. You’ll feel the muscles in your back working to keep your chest up. Next, add one leg raise, toes pointed to the floor, then raise both legs. While your legs are raised, keep your head raised only slightly. Be sure to keep your toes pointed to the floor when doing this exercise, as twisting the legs can strain the hips and lower back.
The head lift.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands under your lumbar spine. Tighten your abdominal muscles, and lift your head straight up. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat five to ten times.
The bird dog.
This is a favorite yoga back exercise. Get on all fours. Raise your right arm and left leg, pointing them straight out. Tighten your abdominal muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your back. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat three times using opposite arm and leg.
The back press.
This exercise is another yoga favorite. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Take a deep breath, then exhale, contracting abdominal muscles and pressing lumbar spine against the floor. Don’t arch your back during this exercise. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat five times.