Back strengthener 1: supported superman

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What it’s good for Strengthens the long muscles of your back that run either side of the spine and sup­port all the spinal ver­teb­rae. The added muscle strength takes pres­sure off the back­bone, redu­cing the like­li­hood of back pain. Everyday examples of the bene­fits of this exer­cise include:

  • You can sit, stand and walk upright with good pos­ture for longer without get­ting back ache or neck pain
  • Reduced back and neck pain if you have arth­ritis or sim­ilar spinal prob­lems
  • You stay taller and look straighter and less aged
  • Helps to pre­vent shoulder hunch­ing and the gradual round­ing of the top of the back
How often to do it Daily
Equipment you’ll need A mat, rug, car­pet, towel or any­thing else you can lie on com­fort­ably on the floor
A small cush­ion or book


♦ To prac­tise this exer­cise, you must be able to get safely down and back up from the floor. If you can’t, try the Seated upper back strengthener or Sitting up for back strength instead.

  • Lie face down, arms quite wide and lengthened ahead of you, so your elbows are roughly in line with your neck and your palms are flat. If this causes you shoulder pain, try Back strengthener 2: I sur­render instead
  • Rest your fore­head on a small cush­ion or book to stop your head “hanging” and any neck strain
  • Draw in lower abs gently, tip your nose slightly upwards, then push your chest for­wards and upwards away from the ground, press­ing your arms down to help lift you
  • Keep look­ing to the edge of the floor so you don’t pull your neck back
  • Hold the back raise for 3, breath­ing, then lower care­fully
  • Rest briefly then repeat

Start with as many as you can man­age, even if that’s just a couple, and work up to doing 10 raises at one go.

Varying the exer­cise for more chal­lenge

Once you can do 10 back raises, you need to make the exer­cise a bit harder to con­tinue strength­en­ing your muscles. Firstly, hold each raise a bit longer: for a count of 5 instead of 3. Then work up to being able to do 3 sets of 10 repeats every day. Next, move on to Back strengthener 2: I sur­render.

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