|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 floorA small cushion or book|
- Lie face down with arms by your sides
- Rest your forehead on a small cushion to stop your head “hanging” and causing neck strain
- Turn your arms so that palms are flat on the ground. This may be uncomfortable if you have very tight shoulders — see chest stretch
- Draw in lower abs gently and lift your chest away from the ground, lengthening your head forwards as you rise. Keep looking at the corner of the floor, so you’re not tempted to pull your neck back
- Don’t lift too high: if you feel your lower back scrunching, you have gone a bit too far, so just relax a fraction
- Hold the back raise for 5, breathing, then lower carefully down
- 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 difficuly, so next up is no 4.