Beginners Back Exercises that Strengthen your Back

By | 15 November 2019

Physical therapist back exercises for beginners to restore upper and lower back muscle strength, improve posture and prevent re injury with Michelle from These upper and lower back exercises exercises can overcome back pain and rehabilitate after back injury with some conditions.


Please scroll down for written guidelines for doing these exercises included for our hearing impaired viewers.

These 4 Physiotherapist-guided back exercises are designed to:
*Improve posture
*Recover back strength
*Reduce neck and back strain
*Prevent back injury

Back Exercises Suitability

These back strengthening exercises are suited to healthy individuals seeking gentle upper and lower back strengthening exercises.

This Physiotherapist video consists of:
*2 upper back exercises
*2 lower back exercises

No single back exercise program can suit everyone. If you have and existing back problem or back pain seek the approval of your health care provider before commencing new back exercises. In the unlikely event you experience any back discomfort associated with any of these exercises cease that exercise.

Description of these 4 Back Exercises

Upper Back Exercise 1: Push Back

Push back exercises promote good posture. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles in the middle back (between the shoulder blades)

*Starting Position
*Lying down prone
*Place a pillow under your pelvis. Positioning a pillow or cushion under your pelvis can help to reduce the risk of lower back discomfort when doing exercises in prone position. This is recommended but not essential if your back feels comfortable without a support.
*Position your arms by your sides with your palms facing your thighs
*Tuck your chin towards your chest so that your forehead touches the mat. Always keep your chin tucked in and your forehead supported when doing exercises lying down prone on the mat. This will help you to minimise your risk or neck pain or neck injury.

*Keep your arms extended and raise them backwards
*Draw your shoulder girdles back and down
*Slowly lower both arms back to the mat
*Keep both feet in contact with the ground
*Repeat up to 10 times in a row

Upper Back Exercise 2: Stop Sign Exercise

Stop sign promotes back strengthening for upright posture. It strengthens the middle back and back of shoulders.

*Starting Position
*Start lying down prone
*Place a cushion or pillow under your pelvis
*Position your arms palms facing down and elbows out from your trunk
*Bend your shoulders and elbows to right angles. If you are prone to shoulder problems keep your elbows close to the sides of your trunk or avoid this exercise in favor of push back exercises.
*Tuck your chin so that your forehead remains in contact with the mat
*Keep both feet in contact with the ground throughout

*Squeeze your shoulder blades together
*Raise your elbows and wrists backwards away from the ground
*Return your arms back to the ground
*Repeat up to 10 exercises in a row

Lower Back Exercise 1: Lower Back Extension
This exercise strengthens the lower back muscles and spine.

*Start lying down prone
*Position a cushion or pillow under your pelvis
*Place your arms by your sides
*Tuck your chin and keep your forehead in contact with the mat
*Keep both feet in contact with the ground throughout

*Raise your shoulders and chest just off the mat. If you are prone to lower back pain avoid raising your trunk too far from the ground.
*Lower your body slowly back down to the mat
*Take a moment to recover before your next repetition
*Repeat up to 10 exercises in a row

Lower Back Exercise 2: Alternate Arm and Leg Raises (Superman Exercise)

Alternate arm and leg raises strengthen the core spinal and the deep abdominal muscles. This lying down variation is a great alternative to the kneeling version for beginners, individuals with knee pain or unstable pelvic conditions.

*Start lying down prone
*Position a cushion or pillow under your pelvis
*Extend both arms in front of your body and in contact with the mat
*Keep your chin tucked so that your forehead touches the mat

*Gently engage your deep abdominal muscles
*Slowly raise one arm and the opposite leg just off the mat. If your shoulders are sore you may prefer to avoid the arm raises and focus on the leg raises only
*Avoid raising the leg too high from the ground – high leg raises have potential to increase strain on the joints in the lower back
*Lower both limbs slowly back to the ground
*Relax your core abdominal muscles
*Repeat this action using the opposite arm and leg
*Repeat up to 10 alternate arm and leg raises

These 4 basic back exercises will help strengthen your lower back muscles – get down and get started now!

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30 thoughts on “Beginners Back Exercises that Strengthen your Back

  1. emi dee

    I have the KISS syndrome and my chiropractor told me to strengthen my back. I hope these exercises work for me. Thank you for the video (^-^)

  2. Khonani

    Do I have to engage my core the entire time or is it fine? Never been certain when to engage the core, during exercise or for stretches too

  3. ☀️ Sunny Days ☀️

    You make it look easy Michelle! Just a bit too advanced for me but interesting to watch all the same. Great work and videos.

  4. Nick Tauro

    So no joke. A had a problem where my left rib was out of place and I didn’t know why. After doing the exercises it pushed back into place! Thank you!

  5. naturalbohemian1

    Such good and doable exercises! I really love your core and back/spine exercise videos. I appreciate your thorough explanations. Thank you so much!

  6. Tina Peterson

    Hi Michelle – I'm starting a new delivery job and can have packages up to 50 pounds (he said most are 25#s or less). I have fibromyalgia, lower back pain, shoulder pain and hip pain. I thought a good stretching regimen will help me prep for the job. Are you suggesting 10 of each stretch? I'm currently doing trigger point & myofascial release but feel I need a good stretch to help me prepare for the new job.

  7. Yago Alonso

    Dont understimate the concentric power in the gi type , i agree with the idea of isometric work being a big part of the training but in the modern bjj there is a lot of explosive movement , also the style of the fighter affects. I would consider the training in injury prevention an important part of any program , especially in the neck , shoulders and knees where is a lot of positions that put very high force momentums into a valgum , ending in patella dislocations , subluxations , acl tears , meniscus and internal ligaments , generating a lot of time without trainning and the fighter never get into his best level for this.

    Cheers from Argentina , SOLUM BJJ.

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