|What it’s good for||If you’ve never done any back-strengthening exercises, start here. Stronger back muscles will:
|How often to do it||Every day, morning, noon and night!|
|Equipment you’ll need||A kitchen chair without arms|
- Sit tall at the front of the chair, feet hip-width apart
- Place hands on the sides of the chair, ready to push down
- Gently draw in lower abs
- Lengthen up – imagine someone upstairs is pulling you up by a piece of string in the top of your head
- Push down with your arms at the same time to get even taller
- Look straight ahead throughout
- When you’ve reached your tallest, let go of your arms and stay tall for a count of 10 – and keep breathing!
- Rest briefly then repeat
Aim to do this 10 times in one go.
♦ Don’t let your bottom come off the seat at all
♦ Ask someone to check that you are not leaning backwards (see photo above), or hunching over (see photo above right). It’s really important to be straight on top of your “sit-bones” (bum-bones), even if you can only stay there a few seconds before resting
♦ Once you get the feel for sitting really tall, you don’t need to use your arms to push – just rest your hands in your lap and lengthen up through your back.
Varying the exercise for more challenge
Once you can do 10 repeats, you need to make the exercise harder to continue strengthening your back. Try the progressions below in order of increasing difficulty.
1. Sit and hold for longer
Increase your 10sec hold gradually, eg, by 5 seconds each week, until you can hold for 30 seconds at a time; and do 10 repeats at one go
2. Move on to the seated upper back strengthener
3. Begin working through the back strengthener series