Exercising your back muscles will help you improve your posture and find some relief from back pain. Whether you suffer from back pain right now or you would like to prevent future back pain, adding at least a few back exercises to your daily routine is a great idea.
It’s best to start with gentle exercises, especially if you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle. Remember to take your time as you perform these gentle back exercises. Go slowly, breathe deeply, and focus on engaging your back and core muscles as you move your body. When you are done with your exercises, take a moment to rest so you can let your muscles cool down. You could lay down on an exercise mat and do some gentle stretches for a few minutes before getting back up.
If any movement causes you back pain, don’t force it. Try another exercise that will not cause you any discomfort. You want to exercise safely and enjoy doing it. If any exercise causes pain in your body, check with a physiotherapy clinic for further diagnosis.
Check out these seven gentle and safe back exercises for women:
1. Cat cow pose
The cat-cow pose is a simple and gentle way to stretch your back muscles. Start on your hands and knees. Arch your back towards the ceiling like a cat stretching and exhaling through your mouth with your head down.
Then, let your abdomen drop down, lift up your head, and inhale through your nose. This one is the cow pose. Repeat the entire exercise 10 times, slowly. Breathe as deeply as you can and feel the gentle stretch in your spine.
2. Good morning
Good mornings are an exercise you can perform while holding light weights, but you can also do it without weights. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms and fold them, so your fingertips touch the back of your head.
While you inhale, hinge forward at your hips to lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. Gently bend your knees but be sure to keep your back flat. Reverse the move to stand up straight while you exhale and repeat the entire exercise at least ten times.
Bridging is an exercise that should provide some relief for your lower back muscles. Get an exercise mat and lie down on your back. With your feet flat on the mat, bend your knees. Pull in your belly button, then squeeze your buttocks together and slowly raise them towards the ceiling.
Your trunk should form a straight line with your knees. You can then lower your buttocks until they touch the exercise mat again. Repeat the entire exercise at least ten times.
While you are on your exercise mat, you can do the Superman. This exercise targets your lower back and upper back muscles, as well as your glutes. Start by laying flat on your stomach, with your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended in front of you. Your palms should face each other.
Then, engage your abs, squeeze your glutes, and become a superhero: lift up your arms, your legs, your head and your chest a few inches off the ground, as if you were Superman flying high in the sky. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 seconds, then slowly get back to your starting position. Repeat ten times.
5. Reverse snow angel
Do you remember doing snow angels when you were a kid? Or perhaps you still do them once in a while when you see fresh snow.
To do a reverse snow angel, lie face down on your exercise mat, with your legs extended straight and your arms by your side. You can also place your forehead on a rolled towel if it helps you feel more comfortable. Then, bring your arms out to the sides and do the same with your legs, as if you were doing a snow angel. Repeat 15 times.
6. Behind the headband pull
For this exercise, you need an exercise band. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding the exercise band above your head. Your arms should be stretched out to form a “V” shape.
To perform the exercise, slowly pull on the exercise band as you lower your arms to the sides, pulling your shoulder blades together. The band should come down to the height of your shoulders, behind your head. Slowly return to your initial position and repeat ten times.
7. Front raise to lateral raise
For this exercise to be more effective, you can do it while holding light weights in your hands. If you don’t have weights, you could use small bottles of water instead.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your arms down, holding your weights against your thighs. Engage your core muscles, and raise your arms in front of you. Make sure they stay straight. Lower the weights, then raise them out to the sides, to the same height as your shoulders. Lower them and start again. Repeat ten times.