A strong back is a healthy back. Period. And these are the perfect exercises that will make it easier and more natural for you to stand and sit with good posture for longer periods, and with far less pain (if any). These moves are especially effective against lower back pain because they work the stabilizing muscles that keep your spine aligned.
Once you’ve mastered them, feel free to add a progression of one-legged squats to this workout. Do them with the raised leg in front of you, then out to the side, then behind. They’re great for your gluteal muscles, and glutes are crucial for erect posture and a healthy back. And while you’re giving yourself a tune-up, don’t miss our 100 Easiest Ways to be a Healther Man Right Now.
This mild yoga-like move gets you ready for the other exercises. It’s not a stretch, so don’t push it.
How: Go slow! On your hands and knees (shoulder-width apart), lower your head between your arms as you push up with a rounded back. Reverse the movement at the top, extending your neck forward and up as you arch your lower back. Do five to eight repetitions. And while you’re getting limber, be sure to read about The World’s Single Best Stretch.
This move works all of your abdominal muscles while maintaining the back’s natural arch.
How: Lie faceup on the floor with your left leg straight, right leg bent, and right foot flat on the floor. Put your hands under the arch in your lower back. Slowly raise your head and shoulders without bending your lower back. Hold for 7 or 8 seconds, breathing deeply. Do 4 repetitions, then switch legs. But don’t forget the old saying that “abs are made in the kitchen.” Here are the 10 Best Carbs for Your Abs.
This forces your lateral stabilizer muscles to work hard. That will help them fully support your spine.
How: Lie on your left side with your body propped on your left elbow and forearm and your knees straight. Put your right hand on your left shoulder and slowly raise your hips until your body forms a straight line. Hold for 7 or 8 seconds. Do 4 or 5 repetitions, then switch sides.
This is a less stressful “Superman” move for your lower- and middle-back extensors, the muscles that help you bend backward.
How: On your hands and knees, slowly raise and straighten your right leg and left arm while contracting your abdominal muscles to brace your lumbar spine. Hold for 7 or 8 seconds, breathing deeply. Lower them, repeat 4 times, then switch sides. Remember: a strong back is one of the essential ways to Look Great Without Wearing a Shirt.
This recruits core stabilizers.
How: Set up as you would for a regular pushup, but move one of your hands down toward the side of your torso and rotate it so the fingers point away from your body. Do a set of 10 reps, switching hands after the set. For more great advice for healthy living, don’t miss our 10 Surefire Signs Your Heart is Super Strong.
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