A strong and healthy back forms the foundation of a fit and active lifestyle. Whether you’re an athlete striving for peak performance, a fitness enthusiast aiming to improve your overall strength, or simply someone seeking relief from nagging back pain, building a resilient back should be a top priority.
Your back muscles play a vital role in maintaining proper posture, supporting your spine, and facilitating a range of movements. Yet, in our sedentary lifestyles dominated by long hours of sitting and hunching over screens, our backs often suffer the consequences. It’s time to take charge and give our backs the attention and care they deserve.
Senior Coach, Nicole Chretien, shares a series of exercises and stretches, ranging from Yoga poses to Pilates and Weightlifting exercises, that target different areas of the back, focusing on key muscle groups such as the erector spinae, glutes, and obliques. These exercises will not only strengthen your back but also improve your posture, enhance spinal mobility, and reduce the risk of injury.
Downward Facing Dog: This pose offers a deep stretch that improves balance and strengthens the back. It engages the hamstrings, deltoids, glutes, triceps, and quadriceps.
Extended Triangle: A classic standing posture that helps eliminate backaches, sciatica, and neck pain. It stretches the spine, hips, and groin while strengthening the chest and legs.
Half Lord of the Fishes: This spinal rotation pose energizes the spine and relieves backaches. It targets the rhomboids, serratus anterior, erector spinae, pectoralis major, and psoas muscles.
Spinal Twist: A restorative twist that promotes movement and mobility in the spine and back, relieving pain and stiffness in the back and hips.
Child’s Pose: This pose releases tension in the neck and back while stretching the hips, lower back, thighs, and ankles.
Pull-Up: One of the best exercises for strengthening the lats, lower traps, and upper to mid-back muscles.
Lat Pulldown: A vertical pull movement primarily targeting the lats (shoulder blades), biceps, and traps. It’s a great exercise for beginners to include in their programs as it’s very safe.
Seated Cable Row: A horizontal pull movement that primarily targets the lats. Different cable row attachments allow you to include variations in your programme by utilizing different grip positions.
Single-Arm Dumbbell/Barbell Row: This exercise allows you to train each side of the body individually and provides isolated movement for easy overload. Barbell rows can also engage the lower back, hips, and hamstrings, making it a full-body movement.
Good Mornings: These exercises strengthen the erector spinae, upper back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, which play a major role in supporting the lower back.
Deadlift (Barbell, Trap Bar, Sumo): Deadlifts strengthen all the muscles in your posterior chain (the muscles on the back side of your body).
Face Pulls: Face pulls primarily target the rear delts, rhomboids, and mid-trapezius muscles. This is a great exercise to include in your warm-up routine as well as throughout your program to strengthen your postural muscles.
Swan Prep: This exercise strengthens the back extensors, which help you to maintain an upright posture.
Prone Y Raises: Lying on your belly and lifting your arms and legs off the floor in a Y shape, this exercise engages the smaller postural muscles around the back of the shoulders, such as the rear delts, trapezius, and rhomboids.
Swimmers: Swimmers strengthen the back while promoting a long, aligned spine and engaging the core.
Cobra Pose: By extending your spine backward, this pose strengthens the back muscles and glutes. It also provides a great stretch for the spine, chest, and abdomen, enhancing spine alignment.
Cat Cow: A highly effective stretch and mobility movement that targets your back muscles, by promoting spinal flexion and extension. By arching and rounding your back in a controlled manner, you can improve the flexibility and mobility of your spine.
The Saw: This powerful exercise focuses on spinal rotation, providing a dual benefit of strengthening your oblique muscles while enhancing spinal flexibility. Incorporating this exercise into your routine can contribute to core stability and overall back strength.
Glute Bridge: The glute bridge is a versatile movement that not only stretches your spine but also engages and strengthens several key muscle groups, including the glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae. By lifting your hips off the ground and squeezing your glutes, you can activate and strengthen these areas while simultaneously promoting spinal alignment.
Take charge of your posture today and prioritise the well-being of your back by adding these exercises to your programme. Next time you visit the club, give a few of these exercises and stretches a try, and check in with one of our coaches if you need advice on proper form and technique.
Written by Nicole Chretien, Senior Coach