Healthy Back Series

Written by

March 13, 2015

The following four exercises are the basis for a healthy back routine. Performed individually or as a series, they will help strengthen the spinal muscles. Combine this series with the Sit Ups Routine for a comprehensive core routine!

Cat-Dog (Spinal Flexion-Extension):

Kneeling on all fours begin in spinal neutral with back flat and eye gaze looking at hands. Gently round the spine (flexion) tucking the chin, looking towards your knees. Pause and hold. Then move into an arch (extension) looking straight ahead. Pause and hold. Repeat 10-20 times, moving slowly through the sequence.

Bird-Dog Alternators:

Kneeling on all fours with abdominals held in, gaze at hands. Lift left arm and extend right leg simultaneously. Pause and hold. Return to start position. Then lift right arm and extend left leg simultaneously. Pause and hold. Repeat 10-20 times. This exercise strengthens the spinal extensor muscles, abdominals and is great for working on balance.

Gluteal Squeezes:

Kneeling with torso upright, place a yoga block, thick book or firm pillow between the heels. Squeeze the heels against the block and hold for a count of 10-20 seconds. Release and repeat 5-10 times. The initiation of the movement should come from the buttocks.

Modified or Full Plank:

Lie on the floor with elbows directly under shoulders. Tuck toes under and extend legs lifting the full body off the floor. Hold for 5-30 seconds. Repeat 2-5 times.

*If any back discomfort is noticed in the Full Plank position, simply bend knees to the floor for support without changing any other part of the body for a Modified Plank. Hold and repeat similarly to the Full Plank.