Back strengthener 2: ‘I surrender’

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basics here

Note: there are sev­eral ver­sions of the back-​strengthener exer­cise, lis­ted below in order of dif­fi­culty

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

  • 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.

The pro­gres­sions
No 1: Supported super­man
No 2: I sur­render arms
No 3; Palms flat
No 4: Hover
No 5: Hands to head
No 6: Floating arms

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