|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:
|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
- 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.