One of the most common medical ailments people complain about these days, age no bar is back pain. Our back consists of about 140 muscles and are involved in most activities we do during the day from picking or lifting, sitting down, and even bending forward. Symptoms of back pain include backaches, inability to stand up straight without pain, or a decreased range of motion. Backache can be caused by strain, obesity, stress and anxiety, no regular movement, and even due to bad posture. One way to remedy this is doing regular back strengthening exercises that cover all the muscles in the posterior chain. 

7 Exercises To Strengthen Your Back

Below are 7 exercises to strengthen back muscles that target your core, upper, and lower back muscles to increase endurance and alleviate back pain. 

Warmup

Before beginning the workout, start with 5-10 minutes of stretching like a cat-cow pose and moderate cardio to activate the muscles and get the heart pumping. This could include cycling, treadmill, or bodyweight exercises.

1. Bridges

An easy home workout for the lower back includes bridges that target the glutes and lower back muscles to keep it strong.

How To Do It:

  1. Lie on the ground with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, and hands by your sides.
  2. Slowly lift your glutes off the ground until your body is in one straight line. Keep your feet and shoulders on the floor.
  3. Lower down to the starting position. Rest for 1 minute.
  4. Repeat 15 times for 3 sets.

2. Half Crunches

Strong abdominal muscles play a crucial role in supporting the spine. Core strengthening exercises for lower back pain like crunches can help prevent injury and pain.

How To Do It:

  1. Lie on the floor and bend the knees, with the feet apart and hands supporting the head.
  2. Gently raise the head and shoulders 2 inches off the ground while keeping the neck in line with the spine and hold the position before returning to the starting position.
  3. Repeat the exercise 20 times for 3 sets.

3. Superman

If you are looking for upper back strengthening exercises that can be performed without weights at home, this is the best in class.

How To Do It:

  1. Lie flat on your stomach with your arms above your head.
  2. Slowly lift your hands and feet off the ground. Go as high as comfortable.
  3. Continue till most of your body is off the ground except your belly.
  4. Hold your stretched posture for 2-3 seconds.
  5. Return to neutral and relax your muscles. Repeat this stretch 10 to 12 times.

4. Renegade Rows

Renegade rows are a challenging lower back workout as it requires you to hold a plank position while doing rows.

How To Do It:

  1. Start with a high plank position with a dumbbell on each of your hands. Choose an appropriate weight that you can lift without injuring yourself.
  2. Pull the right-hand dumbbell upwards with your elbows bent and close to the body before returning the dumbbell to the ground. 
  3. Alternate the movement with your left arm.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 20 reps each.

5. Bent-Over Reverse Flys

The reverse fly is one of the back strengthening exercises that target both the back muscles and shoulders which can result in good posture.

How To Do It:

  1. Holding a dumbbell of appropriate weight in each hand, bend forward at the waist until your parallel with the ground, with the dumbbells in front of you, palms facing each other and elbows slightly bent.
  2. Staying steady, lift your arms up and out, squeezing your shoulder blades at the top.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position, without swinging your arms. 
  4. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.

6. High-To-Low Plank

One of the exercises to strengthen the lower back is the plank which is commonly mistaken as a core-only exercise. It is a full-body exercise that recruits the back muscles for strength.

How To Do It:

  1. Get on all fours. Place your hands shoulder-width apart directly under your shoulders. Keep your elbows slightly bent.
  2. Extend your legs and form a straight line without your hips sagging or lifting. Pause for 1-2 seconds.
  3. From here move from resting on your palms to your elbows without moving the rest of the body. Pause here for 1-2 seconds before alternating with the high plank position.
  4. Repeat 10-12 reps for 3 sets.

7. Lat Pulldown

Exercises to strengthen the lower back at the gym always include the lat pulldown. This exercise can be modified to be performed at home with the use of resistance bands. 

How To Do It:

  1. Attach the resistance bands to a door or hook that is placed above your head.
  2. Hold the ends of the resistance bands apart on each hand and slowly bring the hands towards the chest with the elbow bent and the spine straight.
  3. Lift your hands back to the starting position without allowing yourself to fall backward.
  4. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps each.

Precautions

  • As described above always start your workout with a warmup and end it with a quick cool-down session for recovery
  • Cooldown exercises include bird dog, lower back rotational stretches, T-rotations, back extensions, and lying lateral leg lifts
  • If any of the exercises cause pain, stop doing them and consult your doctor before continuing the workout
  • As you progress, to increase the challenge you can add weights or resistance to your lower back workout

Tips To Relieve Back Pain

Here are a few tips that will aid in reducing back pain and also help you in increasing the strength of your back muscles.

  1. Contrast therapy where you alternate between heat and ice water compress on the area of pain can help reduce inflammation.
  2. Other than performing the above back strengthening exercises at home, do full-body workouts and a cool down after the exercise for overall strength.
  3. Be mindful of your posture. Focus on keeping your spine straight and do not strain your neck while on the phone or laptop.
  4. If you are sitting a lot due to work, be mindful and remember to stretch your body every 1-2 hours.
  5. High heels affect your posture and strain the legs leading to backache. Try to switch to comfortable shoes, if possible.
  6. Avoid carrying heavy stuff like suitcases and purses, or distribute the weight evenly on the back for lesser strain.
  7. Salt soaks with essential oils added to them can also help in alleviating pain.

The older you get, the more likely you are to experience back pain. With proper care and regular back strengthening exercises, you can avoid it from becoming a chronic disease. It is possible to make your back resilient at any age and live more comfortably. Targeted workouts can help avoid injury, increase stability and flexibility, and also improve body posture. Until you return to the gym, these at-home workouts will make you strong and reduce backache.

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