Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

Photo Credit: Public Domain
A tired, sore, aching back can interfere with your daily activities and prevent you from enjoying many things. There are several easy exercises that you can do at home that can help strengthen your back muscles, increase flexibility and help relieve back pain. See your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to exercise your back and rule out conditions like osteoporosis before starting an exercise program.
An easy exercise to help strengthen your back is the leg extension. Start the exercise by getting on the floor on your hands and knees. Place your knees directly under  your hips and keep your hands flat on the floor at shoulder width. Tighten up your tummy and then extend one leg straight out behind you. Extend your arm on the opposite side straight out in front of your body. Try to keep your head, neck, spine, arm and leg in a straight line. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then return to the start position. Repeat using the other arm and leg. Do 5 or more repetitions of this exercise every day to help strengthen your back muscles and improve flexibility and strength.
The side plank exercise is an excellent way to help strengthen your back and improve balance and coordination. Lie on your left side with your body forming a straight line. Lean on your elbow and forearm with your elbow directly below your shoulder. Lift body straight up on your elbow so that your body forms a straight line. Hold this position for a few seconds and then relax. Do 5 repetitions and then switch sides. This exercise will not only strengthen your back, but also help to tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles. 

When your back muscles feel tight, you can do some toe touches to stretch the muscles and improve flexibility. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms over your head and reach as high as you can. Bend over from the waist and try to touch your toes with your fingertips. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and return to an upright position. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times to really stretch the back muscles and strengthen your core.

Hip lifts strengthen your lower back and leg muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms at your sides. Place your palms flat on the floor and press your shoulders against the floor. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and your buttocks and then lift your hips toward the ceiling. Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

The lunge is an exercise that works your back, abs and leg muscles. Stand up straight with your feet slightly apart. Put your hands on your hips for stability and then take a giant step forward with one leg. Keep the other foot planted firmly on the floor. Slowly lower your upper body straight toward the floor until your forward legs forms a 90 degree angle. Hold the position for a few seconds and then push back with your forward leg to the upright position again. Repeat the lunge 5 to 10 times on each side. This exercise will also improve flexibility and balance.

For more information on back pain and exercises, see:

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