Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

By Floria, Barbara

Your back is always at work, holding you upright when you stand or sit, or even when you lie down. Keeping your back muscles strong and your spine flexible can help you avoid aches, pains and strains that many people suffer.

Strong back muscles help you maintain good posture. Your back has three natural curves that form an S-shape, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When these three curves are in alignment, you have good posture. Without strong, flexible back muscles, your back loses the three curves.

Keep these guidelines from the NIH in mind when doing the following back-strengthening exercises:

  • Start out slowly and build repetitions gradually.

  • Stop any exercise that causes pain.

  • Perform the exercises every day or every other day.

  • Get your health care provider's OK to do them if you've had back surgery or have arthritis or osteoporosis.

  • Repeat each exercise three to five times.

  • Begin each exercise session with five to seven minutes of gentle aerobic exercise, such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle.

Partial sit-ups

This exercise from the NIH strengthens your stomach muscles.

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  • Slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor, keeping your hands across your chest.

  • Work up to 30 repetitions.


This exercise from the NIH strengthens your lower back.

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  • With arms lying at your sides, tighten stomach muscles, squeeze buttocks, and slowly raise your hips into the air.

  • Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly bring the buttocks back to the floor.

  • Repeat 20 times.

Wall slides

This exercise from the NIH strengthens your back and leg muscles.

  • Stand with your back against a wall and your feet slightly apart.

  • Slide into a half-sit.

  • Hold as long as you can; slide back up.

  • Repeat 5 times.


  • Lie on your stomach with your palms on the floor near your shoulders.

  • Press down on your hands and gently raise your upper chest off the floor.

  • Hold for 10 seconds.

  • Repeat 10 times.

Medical Reviewer: [Byrd, Sylvia RN, MBA, Godsey, Cynthia M.S., M.S.N., APRN, Lambert, J.G. M.D.] Last Annual Review Date: 2008-06-12T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: Copyright Health Ink & Vitality Communications

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