3 Exercises for a Stronger Back

Strengthen and stretch back muscles to prevent injury.

By: Melissa Romero

Sitting for long periods can wreak havoc on your back, says physical therapist Robert Gillanders of Sports & Spinal Physical Therapy in DC. These exercises can help strengthen and stretch back muscles and prevent injury. Gillanders says it’s important to consult a physician or physical therapist before trying them if you’ve recently suffered a back injury.

Bridge

Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your sides. Brace your core muscles and lift your hips. Hold the pose for five seconds. Slowly lower your hips; repeat ten times.
Good for: Training the glutes, the main stabilizers of the back.

Cat-Cow

On all fours, curve your back up, keeping your head lowered. Slowly lower your back into an arch while raising your head. Repeat ten times once or twice a day.
Good for: Stretching the lower back and increasing the spine’s range of motion.

Bird-Dog

Start on all fours. Extend your left arm in front while reaching your right leg straight back. Hold five seconds, then lower them. Extend the opposite arm and leg. Repeat ten times each.
Good for: Core muscles, which are linked to back strength.

This article appears in the June 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.