Exercises to strengthen your back

Exercises to strengthen your back

By Jessica Ward

‘Ouch, my back!’ We are all far too familiar with this feeling. Long hours at a desk, poor posture and bad footwear contribute to the hammering taken by our spines and back muscles. Backache is our bodies telling us that something is definitely not right.

The key to a strong and stable back is the all-important body core. These muscles support the spine and help us to cope with twisting, stretching and sudden movements. A strong back is much less likely to hurt.

Although it can be hard to motivate yourself to do back exercises when you are not in pain, it really will pay off. The two main ways to a healthy back are stretch and strengthen.

  • Stretch: here is a set of stretches for the lower back. These can be done in any spare moment and should help to relieve pain.
  • Strengthen: Here are four easy back-strengthening moves. Pay attention to posture and alignment in all of these – incorrect technique can cause injury.

You may also want to give Pilates or yoga a try to increase strength and flexibility.

Remember the basic principles of back care:

  • Pay attention to good posture
  • Carry and lift correctly – use a proper backpack, not a handbag if you have to transport heavy items to and from work. Lift with the legs, not the back.
  • Set up your workplace correctly
  • Wear the right shoes for the job

Never ignore an aching back – take action. Always tell gym staff if you have a back problem, they will be able to show you how to help yourself.

Comments

craig t.
31 August 2014

craig t.

Great timing! I did my back in really badly painting our bedroom wall (warning!! easy jobs can still damage your back!!). It's been small, slow exercises helping me get back to normal. The trouble is continuing to do them when your back is better.

Trevor D.
27 August 2014

Trevor D.

great point about carrying and lifting - even in a 'non-manual' job, it is all too easy to do damage shifting just one piece of office kit too many.

Frank H.
26 August 2014

Frank H.

When I started working out I thought back pain was going to be the end of me but it soon settled, just took the right exercises.

Roger B.
26 August 2014

Roger B.

definitely - a flabby stomach (looks down guiltily) doesn't support a strong back. Off to do some careful situps!

Emma C.
25 August 2014

Emma C.

hi, glad you mentioned the importance of working your core in controlling back pain. Better to prevent than to repair.

Clare R.
25 August 2014

Clare R.

that picture says it all - been there far too often. I am sitting up straight as I type!

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