Back Exercises

The following back exercises can help keep your back strong and supple. Increased strength and flexibility has been shown to reduce back stress and help prevent injury.

Please Note: Before starting any exercise program please consult and discuss with your physician.

Exercise Tips

One of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy back is to perform exercises that condition and strengthen it.

It's a good idea to use a mat to perform your routine and wear loose-fitting clothing. Begin your exercise program slowly and gradually increase the frequency of your workouts as your back begins to feel better. All exercises should be performed with smooth inhaling and exhaling patterns. If you become tired, rest for a few minutes or stop altogether. Do not continue exercising if your back pain intensifies. In fact, if any particular exercise causes pain, drop it from your routine until you've consulted your doctor.

Flexion Exercises

1. Knees to chest

Knees to Chest

Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, hip width apart. Contract your abdominal muscles and slowly raise both knees toward your chest and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Gradually lower one leg at a time back to your starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.


2. Knee hug

Knee Hug

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Slowly raise one knee and clasp both hands around the thigh. Exhale while lifting the chest toward the knee and hold for 3 to 5 seconds and return to your start position. Repeat with both legs 3 to 5 times.


3. Curl backs

Curl Backs

Sit on the floor with your feet flat, hip width apart with your knees at right angles. Place your hands under your knees, below the kneecap. Contract your abdominal muscles and slowly curl partway back and return to your start position with a straight back. Repeat 5 to 10 times.


4. Curl ups

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Place your fingertips behind your ears, keeping elbows as far back as possible. Slowly lift your upper body a couple of inches while contracting your abdominal muscles and pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold this position. Return to the starting position and repeat 5 to 10 times.

Curl Ups

5. Tying the shoe

Tying the Shoe

Place one foot on a chair, with your knee slightly bent and hands on your thigh. Slowly lower chest towards knee. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Contract you abdominal muscles round and roll your body up to the starting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.



Extension Exercises

1. Trunk Extension

Lie on your stomach, with your arms at your side. Looking at the floor, contract your abdominal muscles and slowly raise your head and shoulders together. Stay in a raised position and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly return to your starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Trunk Extension


2. Loose push-up

Lie on your stomach with your hands below your shoulders. Press the hips into the floor, contract the abdominal muscles, look at the floor and gradually lift your chest 6 to 8 inches off the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and slowly lower the head and shoulders to the starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Loose Push-up


3. Single arm lifts

Lie on your stomach with your arms extended forward. Looking at the floor, slowly lift your head, shoulder and arm about 6 inches above the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then slowly lower your arm to the floor. Repeat with each arm 3 to 5 times.

Single Arm Lifts


4. Single leg lifts

Lie on your stomach with your arms extended forward on the floor. Press your hips into the floor, contract your abdominal muscles, look at the floor and slowly lift your leg a few inches above the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and slowly lower your leg to the floor. Repeat with each leg 3 to 5 times.

Single Leg Lifts


5. Combined arm and leg lifts

Lie on your stomach with your arms extended forward on the floor. Press your hips into the floor, contract your abdominal muscles, look at the floor and slowly lift one arm and the opposite leg a few inches above the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and slowly lower your arm and leg to the floor. Repeat this exercise using your other arm and leg. Repeat with both sides 3 to 5 times.

Combined Arm and Leg Lifts


Additional Exercises

1. Shoulder-blade pinch

While standing straight, with your arms at your side, feet hip width apart, contract your abdominal muscles, pull your shoulder blades together and hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Release and repeat 10 times.

2. Elongation stretch

Lie on your back and extend your arms behind your head and straighten your legs. Extend your fingers and toes as much as possible. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Release and repeat 5 to 10 times.

3. Lower-back stretch

Lie on your back, with your knees together and bent, and arms extended to the sides at shoulder level. Contract your abdominal muscles, slowly lower your knees down to one side, keeping both shoulders in contact with the floor. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then slowly lift the top knee, letting the lower one follow, and move both knees to the other side. Repeat with both sides 2 to 3 times.

4. Hamstring stretch

Lie on your back, with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Extend one leg toward the ceiling, with the knee slightly bent, slowly pull the leg with both hands toward your body and press your buttocks against the floor. Hold the position until you feel tension, not pain, in the back of your leg, then flex and point the foot five times. Slowly lower the leg down to the floor and repeat with the other leg. Repeat with both legs 2 to 3 times.

5. Lower-back and hamstring stretch

Sit upright with one knee bent and the other leg extended, with your hands on the floor. Looking straight ahead, slowly press your chest forward and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Disclaimer: Please speak with your chiropractor or physician before you perform any of these exercises. Some of these movements may be harmful to your condition.

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