Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles

Hello!  If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and said “oooooooh, my aching back” you’re definitely not alone.  About 31 million adult Americans have had either acute or chronic back pain at some time in their life.  So today I thought I’d share some simple exercises to strengthen back muscles.

By having a strong back you can reduce your chances of getting back pain. Before I get into the exercises though, I want to give you some background on how back pain affects the population.  Research has led to the following findings in the United States regarding back problems, I don’t have data for any other countries.

  1. It’s become the leading cause for disability claims
  2. 2nd largest reason for doctor visits behind upper respiratory infections
  3. Experts predict with the current trend that 80% of the adult population will experience some type of back pain in their lifetime
  4. Approximately 50 billion dollars is spent annually in health care costs related to back pain, the ACE (American Council on Exercise) published a very informative article on back pain you can see here.

There are some things you can do to lessen your chances of being a victim of back pain.

1. Sedentary – People who lead sedentary lifestyles and don’t exercise 150 minutes a week or more are more prone to suffer back pain.

2. Posture – Whenever your mother told you to sit up straight as a child there was a reason behind it.  By having poor posture you put a strain on your back muscles that’s unnecessary.  This can also make you more susceptible to back pain or injuries.

3. Obesity – Another way to reduce your risk of back pain or injury is to maintain a proper weight.  Those who are obese or overweight have more stress placed upon their back.

4. Poor Movement – Not using proper movement techniques can also lead to back injuries.  Squatting down and lifting with your legs instead of your back is one example of minimizing your chances of back injuries or pain.

Next, I’d like to share a few simple back exercises that can help strengthen your back and make it more flexible.  They’re designed to help muscles in your lumbar area which is the lower part of your back.  I thought I’d focus on the lower back region since the majority of people’s back pain is in that spot.

A note of caution though, if you currently have, or have had a history of back problems, please check with your physician before doing these exercises.

Kneeling Back Stretch

To do this exercise you start out by getting on your knees and placing both hands on your hips.  Then you lean back as far as you can.  Once you’re at that point, hold that position for 10 seconds.  Then bring your trunk forward until you’re in the same position you started.  Do the movement using a 10 second hold 3 times.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Kneeling Back Stretch Action Movement
Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Kneeling Back Stretch Starting Position
Butt Lift

For this one you start out laying on your back with your knees flexed, feet flat on the floor, and palms of your hands facing downward on the floor next to your legs.  Then you raise your butt off the floor while pushing down with your hands.

You raise your butt up as far as you can and hold that position for 10 seconds.  After 10 seconds lower your butt back down to the floor, and then repeat the move 3 times.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Butt Lift Action Movement
Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Butt Lift Starting Position

To do this movement you start out laying on your stomach with your arms stretched out straight in front of you.  Your hands should be perpendicular to the floor with fingers and thumb close together.

Then you raise both arms and both legs off the floor at the same time. Hold that position for 10 seconds before lowering your arms and legs, then repeat the movement 3 times.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Superman Stretch
Modified Superman

For this exercise you get in the same starting position you did as the Superman.  Then you raise one arm off the floor and the opposite leg off the floor at the same time.  Hold that position for 10 seconds, and then repeat the process using the opposite arm and opposite leg.  Do it a total of 3 times for each arm and leg.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Modified Superman Stretch
Standing Sideways Stretch

To do this exercise you start out standing with your arms straight out to your sides and palms facing up.  Then you turn your trunk to one side until the opposite arm is lined up to your front.

Another words, if you turn your trunk to your right, then you should stop when your left arm is directly in front of you facing forward.  Once you’ve reached that position hold it for 10 seconds.

After 10 seconds, move your trunk back to the same position you started. Do it for a total of 3 times to each side with a 10 second hold each time. I’ve posted a couple photos to help show the movement.

Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Standing Sideways Stretch Action Movement
Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles
Standing Sideways Stretch Starting Position








Summary – Back pain continues to grow in the United States with more and more cases being reported each year.  To avoid becoming a statistic, it’s important that you not only take care of your back, but also be wise with your daily movements.

Back exercises are one way to make your back stronger and help prevent injuries and pain.  If you have any experiences regarding back pain or how you prevent it that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section.

Or, if you have a general comment or question please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading everyone and watch your back!



12 thoughts on “Simple Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles”

  1. Hey Jon!

    My day job involves heavy lifting and I’m beginning to get a bad back from it 🙁

    However, your simple exercises are just what I needed to help strengthen my muscles so that the pain slowly disappears.

    With all the daily pressures, I can see just why so many people suffer from back problems, and my mom does too!

    Thanks for the prevention tips and also the various stretches.


    1. Hi Neil,

      I’m glad you found the exercises useful and I hope they can help you strengthen your back muscles. It was my pleasure sharing the tips and information. Thanks for commenting!


  2. My junior year in highschool I slipped my L4 and L5 playing football. One of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. I had to go through 8 weeks of physical therapy, and most of these exercises were the exact ones I did in rehab. Wish I would have seen this site at the time, although that was like 9 years ago. Great article!

    1. Hi Jeremy,

      I can only imagine how painful it must have been slipping those discs. Hopefully, you haven’t had any problems with your back since then. Yes, these exercises are sometimes used for rehabbing. Thanks for your input!


  3. Hey Jon,

    These look like great exercises that will really help your back. I have heard of these before, but no one has explained them to me as well as you have.

    These would be great for me to do because I have a weak back that always hurts.

    Thank you for explaining the movements and I am sure going to do them today!

    1. Hi Emmanuel,

      You’re welcome and I’m glad you liked the exercises, they should help your back feel better. Thanks for your reply and have a terrific day!


  4. What do you think about using a foam roller on your back? That will break up lactic acid build up in your muscles. and will help your posture. I think when people are ready the best full body movement you can learn is the Deadlift. If performed properly the amount of muscles used is going to make your back, legs, and core much much stronger! and no you dont have to go heavy you can start light!

    1. Hi Kurtis,

      Yes, foam rolling your back muscles is great for stretching out the muscle tissue and helping with posture. You can actually foam roll just about any muscle group in your body. I agree, the dead lift is an excellent exercise for strengthening multiple muscle groups at the same time. You’re right about starting out light and building up your strength level gradually. Thanks for your input and have a great day!


  5. Hello,
    thank you for sharing a very informative article about simple exercises to strengthen back muscles. Back muscles are very important, that’s why we need to train them. We can prevent pain in back as well. This back exercises that you mentioned are helpful because I have been implementing them and my back feel great.
    Best regards

  6. Thanks for these exercises, Jon. They’re simple and easy to perform and there is no equipment needed. I’d just add that care should always be taken when executing any exercises. Always remember reading how Bruce Lee injured his back, and he was super, super fit.
    Also enjoyed learning just what causes back pain.

    1. Hi Roy,

      Yes it’s definitely important to take care to properly do any exercise to help avoid injuries, thanks for commenting and have a great day!


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