5 Back Pain Exercises That Also Strengthen Your Arms and Abs
The upside is that with just a few workouts a week, you can effectively strengthen the back muscles that surround and support your spine and target the muscle weaknesses that contribute to low back pain. This workout from Kara Miklaus, NASM-certified trainer and co-owner of WORK Training Studio in Irvine, California, will strengthen your lower back. You’ll work on activating back muscles you don’t always focus on—and feel the burn in your arms and core.
How to do it: You’ll need a band, a set of dumbbells, a barbell, and an exercise ball. Perform each exercise for 15 reps, and repeat for the listed number of rounds.
Banded “Y” Raise
Loop a resistance band with handles around a treadmill or bar that is about chest-height. Hold one handle in each hand. Start with your arms extended out in front of you. Slowly raise your hands above your head to make a “Y” then lower arms back down to starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat for 15 reps. Complete 3 rounds.
Banish Back Pain with the Dumb Bell Reverse Fly
Stand with feet hip-width and send hips back to bend over about 45 degrees, holding a dumb bell in each hand. Extend arms straight down in front of the chest with palms in a fist facing each other. Using your upper back, open arms out wide until they are extended at shoulder height. Return to starting position and repeat. (If this is too challenging, drop the dumbbells and start with bodyweight only). Perform 15 reps. Complete 4 rounds.
Seated Band Row
Loop a resistance band with handles around the base of a pole. Sit upright with your heels planted on the ground. Grab one handle in each hand. Starting with your arms straight out in front of you, engage your back to pull the band toward you, bending at the elbows while maintaining a strong core and straight back. Pull the band into your chest, then slowly straighten your arms back out. That’s one rep. Repeat for 15 reps. Complete 3 rounds.
Lie facedown on an exercise ball, with your pelvis pressing against the ball. Balance on the balls of your feet, with knees slightly bent, or press your feet against a wall, keeping your knees slightly bent. Start with your chest upright and place your hands behind your head. Slowly lower torso by bending at the waist, keeping a strong lower back until you are parallel to the floor – taking it easy if you feel any back pain; aim for tense rather than sore. Pause, then slowly raise your torso back to starting position. Pause at the top. That’s one rep. Repeat for 15 reps. Complete three rounds.
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Bar Bell Bent-Over Row
This is back pain prevention royalty; stand with feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the bar bell with arms shoulder-width apart. Keeping back flat and with a slight bend in knees, send hips back. Press elbows back, squeeze shoulder blades together and lift weights toward ribs. Pause, then lower. (If you don’t have a bar bell, you can use two dumb bells instead.) Repeat for 15 reps. Complete 4 rounds.