I Got Your Back...

Making back care a regular part of your fitness program can keep you healthy, strong and moving freely. Unfortunately, for millions of us, back pain is very common. Resting and avoiding activity is a common myth and not something that is usually recommended. As always though, follow your doctors instructions. 

The causes of back pain are varied but as long as you don't have an acute injury causing the pain, staying active is the best thing to do.  

A regular fitness program will strengthen and stretch your back muscles and improve blood flow to promote healing.

Keeping your back healthy, flexible and strong is the best way to prevent pain.

Proper Bending and Lifting

Proper Lifting Form
  • Stand with feet at least hip width apart to create a wide base of support
  • Bend at your knees, not your waist
  • Tighten your abs and hold the object you're lifting close to you if possible
  • Lift and lower with your leg muscles and no twisting while in a bent position

Proper Posture

  • When sitting, sit tall with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, like with a small stool.
  • When standing, stand tall with your shoulders back and your head up. Your ears should be aligned over your shoulders.
  • Keeping your core muscles strong and practicing balance exercises will help your posture.

Back Stretches

Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds.

Pelvic Tilt - lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat, arms at your sides. Flatten your lower back against the floor.

Pelvic tilt

Knees to Chest - lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Raise your knees, together or one at a time, to your chest. Use your arms to gently pull your knees to your chest.

Knees to chest back stretch

Side Stretch - standing with feet hip width apart, stretch right arm over head and bend gently to the left. Put your left hand on your hip for support. Repeat on left side.

Side stretch

Exercise Ball Stretch - using a large exercise ball, lay across the top of the ball with your hips and abdomen supported by the ball. Place your hands on the floor to stabilize yourself. Relax your neck and allow gravity to help stretch your back.

Back Strengthening Exercises

Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps of each exercise. Like all strengthening exercises, remember to allow one day of rest in between sessions.

Keeping your entire core strong by including several types of abdominal exercises along with these back exercises will keep your back strong.

Exercise Ball Back Extensions - lay on an exercise ball with it under your hips and your feet spread apart for support and stability. Your upper body should be bent over the ball at your hips to start, with arms crossed over your chest. Contract your back muscles and lift your upper body to just past parallel with your hips. Lower and repeat.

Ball back extension A
Ball back extension B

Supermans - laying face down on the floor, extend your arms straight overhead. Simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg. Hold for 2 seconds, lower and repeat with your left arm and right leg.

Superman exercise A
Superman exercise B
Superman exercise C

Kneeling Supermans - kneel on hands and knees spread to hip width apart. Simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg until they are parallel to the floor and fully extended. Hold for 2 seconds, lower and repeat with left arm and right leg.

Bird Dog A
Bird Dog B

Pelvic Lift - lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat and shoulder width apart with your arms at your sides. Contract your butt, hamstrings and lower back muscles to raise your hips without arching until your body is supported by your feet and shoulders. Slowly lower and repeat.

Hip bridge A
Hip bridge B