The 10 Best Back Exercises You Can Do at Home
We’ve all experienced back pain at one point or another. If you haven’t yet, chances are that you will. The condition is so common, that it seems almost inescapable. Back pain comes in various degrees and can be caused by several reasons, but any degree of back pain is enough to impact your daily life.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent and manage your back pain. Above all, exercise is the key to a pain-free back.
In this guide, we explain the most common causes of back pain and how they can be prevented through exercise. We also introduce you to the ten best back exercises you can do at home.
If you or a loved one have ever experienced back pain, you know that it’s serious, inconveniencing, and overall, uncomfortable. Back pain can impact a person’s daily life, making everyday tasks harder to complete, ultimately stopping people from getting the most out of life. Back pain can impact people of all ages and can have various degrees of pain depending on the person. Back pain can come about from a number of different reasons, including:
- Injury to the spine or muscles
- Bulging/ruptured disks
- Strained ligaments and muscles
Some of these reasons are more serious than others and some are more common in certain age groups. No matter the reason, back pain can prevent you from completing daily responsibilities which can have detrimental effects on your quality of life. Exercise is key to preventing and managing back pain. In this Injurymap guide, we introduce you to the ten best exercises you can do at home.
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It’s important to exercise your back at home for a number of reasons; the most important being to start to heal your back issue before it worsens and becomes even more of an issue in everyday life.
The importance of exercising your back doesn’t diminish with age. In fact, a retirement community in PA offers physical therapy for residents that have hurt their back in the past, so that they won’t develop problems with back pain as they age.
It’s also extremely important to exercise your back even if you aren't currently having back pain. The daily exercises will keep your back strong and will prevent you from injuring your back later.
Whether you are having back pain now, have had it in the past, or want to take precautions to prevent you from injuring you back in the future, it’s important to know what back exercises will help you. Here are the ten best back exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Standing Back Curve
This simple movement is great for people that have injured their back in the past and it is also a good stretch to do before doing a workout that may require extensive back use.
Stand up with your knees slightly bent and then arch you back as forward as possible; from here, stand back up and then go down again. These movements will create stability in your spine and will stretch your back muscles.
Stability exercise on knees
This stability exercise is ideal for people that need to heal from a back injury and are looking to stabilise their back.
Derived from a yoga pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, this simple exercise is great for injured people or people that want to build a strong back as a proactive measure.This pose requires you to lie on the floor on your back with bent knees, your feet remaining flat on the floor. After you are in the right position, lift your hips up and down. Do this movement slow and make sure that the lower back comes to the floor before the rest of the back.
The bridge pose will strengthen the lower back muscles and will also stretch the shoulders and spine.
Also referred to as Bird Dogs, This exercise will alleviate lower back pain while also strengthening your core.
Knee extensions will stretch the muscles directly parallel to your spine and will create stability. In terms of strengthening one’s core, this is a major benefit because the stronger one’s core is, the less likely that he or she will injure their back as they workout or lift heavy things.
Mckenzie with bent arms
Lying Hamstring Stretch
This movement can be done with a workout band or if you don’t have one of them, use a towel. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent. Next, you will lift one leg up and wrap either the band or towel around the foot of the lifted leg. Your leg should be fully extended as you pull the band or towel to the opposite shoulder. Make sure to do this on both sides of your body.
A lying hamstring stretch will of course stretch one’s hamstrings and is a great warmup exercise to do before working out. Additionally, this will stretch and create strong upper back muscles. This movement is great to do as a warmup to prevent back injuries before a workout, or it’s a good back exercise to do if you have a hurt back and want to stretch it out.
Leg lift on the floor
Curl and sway on knees
Lying back stretch
Bringing your knee to your chest is a great way to alleviate lower back pain. This simple and easy movement will stretch your lower back muscles and well alleviate pressure on spinal nerves by creating more space for nerves to exit the spine.
Focusing on your lumbar spine (your lower back to your hip), this movement simply requires you to lie on your back and bring your knee to your chest. You can hold this position for as long as you want; try to do ten on each side in order to get all of the benefits of this position.
McKenzie II / Cobra Pose
Another yoga pose, this exercise is straightforward and will lengthen and stretch the spine. The cobra pose requires you to lay on your stomach, legs flat on the ground. From here, you will lift your upper body up, resting on your forearms, palms flat on the ground. At this point, your chest should be off the floor with relaxed shoulders. Hold this pose for 5 breaths then come down for 2 breaths and go back up..
This pose can act as an exercise for people that are currently experiencing back pain or for people that want to preserve the strength of their spine.
If you suffer from persistent back pain that cannot be alleviated through exercise, it’s important that you consult a doctor. Additionally, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms in any part of you back, it’s imperative that you see a doctor so that you don’t hurt yourself further:
- A pinching feeling
- The inability to bend all the way over or get back up
- An uncomfortable tightness
- A pointy feeling
Also, it’s important to see a doctor if any pain lasts for longer than two weeks.
You can prevent and avoid future back pain by going through the exercises mentioned in this guide on a regular basis. Make sure you are doing the exercises correctly – the Injurymap app contains helpful videos and guides.
Remember that bodies are different, and in order to avoid future back pain, it’s important to make sure that you are only doing movements and exercises that are right for your body.
To avoid back pain when you are working out, make sure to properly stretch before getting into a workout and to use weights that are manageable. A lot of the time back injuries come from not properly stretching or doing a movement incorrectly when working out. Take necessary precautions as you exercise to make sure that you are taking proper care of your back.
Some other ways to avoid back pain include:
- Sleep on a quality mattress
- Don’t lift heavy things alone
- Sleep on your back; avoid sleeping on the stomach
- Strengthen your abs
- Avoid twisting motions
- Maintain a healthy body weight
Back pain is uncomfortable and can severely affect your quality of life. Whether you have injured your back before or you simply want to preserve your muscles, it's important to take care of your back so that it remains strong and allows you to properly live your life and complete daily tasks.
If you are experiencing prolonged or excruciating back pain, see a doctor; however, if your back is only slightly sore or you are recovering from a recent injury, try some of these excises and see what they can do for you.
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About the author
Kelsey Simpson is a freelance, medical writer that enjoys writing about topics that educate and help others with their physical health. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.