Back strengthener 5: hands to head

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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

Lying face down with head resting on hands for start of back strengthener exercise
Lying face down with upper back lifting, hands to forehead, at top of back raise

  • Lie face down with your fore­head rest­ing on the backs of your hands, elbows out at your sides
  • 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 and try to keep your elbows wide and shoulders away from your ears
  • Don’t lift too high: if you feel your lower back scrunch­ing, you have gone a bit too far, so relax back 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 1: Supported super­man instead

Varying the exer­cise for more chal­lenge

In this pos­i­tion, your arms are adding extra load to work the back muscles even harder. Work up to 3 to 5 sets of 10 daily. Then, move on to the final level, no 6

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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