|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, elbows bent and palms flat, roughly level with your ears (if you were standing, you’d have your arms in a position that said “I surrender”!)
- Rest your forehead on a small cushion 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, pushing down on your hands and forearms to help
- Keep looking straight ahead so you don’t pull your neck back
- Don’t lift too high: if you feel your lower back arching, you have gone a bit too far, so relax a fraction
- Hold the back raise for 5, breathing, then lower carefully
- Rest briefly then repeat
Aim to complete 10 raises.
Cannot do this at all? If you are finding this impossible, try Back Strengthener No 1: Supported superman instead
Varying the exercise for more challenge
Once you can do 10 good quality back raises, you need to make the exercise a bit harder to continue strengthening your muscles. Firstly, add more sets of 10, so that you are doing 3 to 5 lots of 10 daily. Then, work through the rest of the progressions listed here. They are in order of difficulty, so next up is no 3.