|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 with arms by your sides, gently pressing your palms to your outer thighs
- Rest your forehead on a small cushion to stop your head “hanging” and any neck strain
- Draw in lower abs gently and lift away from the ground, lengthening your head forwards as you hover. Keep looking down, so you don’t pull your neck back
- Don’t lift too high: if you feel your lower back scrunching, 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 for 10 raises at one go.
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 5.