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7 Best Exercises That You Can Do At Home For Better Back Strength

Kristine Thomason
Author:
March 1, 2021
Kristine Thomason
mbg Health & Fitness Director
By Kristine Thomason
mbg Health & Fitness Director

Kristine Thomason is the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen.

woman doing pilates move
Image by mbg creative
March 1, 2021
Welcome to mbg moves! We've been working out at home more than ever lately—and we know our readers are, too. To help keep your fitness routine feeling fresh, we're releasing a new at-home workout every Monday, to start your week off strong.
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Admit it, you haven't been super kind to your back lately. If you work behind a computer, chances are your back muscles and posture could use a bit of love. That's where some handy at-home moves come in.

Not only are back exercises important to keep your upper body strong, stable, and balanced—but they can also help prevent injury and posture issues in your future. Below, you'll find some of our favorite at-home back exercises, demonstrated by body-neutral Pilates instructor Helen Phelan. It's time to make moves toward better mobility, posture, and overall core strength.

1.

Prone Swan Lift

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start by lying on your stomach. Glue your feet together, or spread them apart if you have any back pain. Open your arms into a cactus position.
  2. Exhale, drop your belly button away from the floor, and press your pubic bone into the ground. Lift your head, chest, and arms upward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Inhale as you lower your body to the ground.
2.

Swan With Shoulder Squeeze

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start by lying on your stomach. Glue your feet together, or spread them apart if you have any back pain. Open your arms into a cactus position. Lift your head, chest, and arms upward. This is your starting position.
  2. Exhale as you bring your elbows toward your ribs, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  3. Inhale as you reach your arms out in front of you.
3.

Half Pushup Hover

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Get into a plank position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Engage your core.
  2. Bend your elbows, and slowly lower until your body is halfway toward the floor. Hold for a few breaths, then lower to the ground.
4.

Swan to Pushup

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Start by lying on your stomach. Glue your feet together, or spread them apart if you have any back pain. Open your arms into a cactus position.
  2. Exhale, drop your belly button away from the floor, and press your pubic bone into the ground. Lift your head, chest, and arms upward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Inhale as you lower your body to the ground.
  4. From the ground, press your body up into a plank position as you exhale. You can keep your knees on the ground, or rise all the way up onto your toes. Inhale as you lower back down.
5.

Plank With Shoulder Retraction

Image by mbg Creative
  1. Get into a high-plank position, with your hands stacked right under your shoulders. Engage your core to stabilize your plank.
  2. Inhale, as you allow your chest to lower and your shoulder blades to press together.
  3. Exhale as you lift your body back to a plank position, spreading your shoulder blades apart. Repeat for 5 breaths.
6.

Bird Dog

Image by mindbodygreen
  1. Get on all fours, and place shins flat on the ground. Release your shoulder blades away from your ears.
  2. Inhale as your reach your right arm and left leg up, stretching away from your body. As you lift, don't arch your back or bring your leg too high. Tuck your pelvis and hug your abdominals in; squeeze your glutes for stability.
  3. Exhale as your return your arm and leg back to the ground.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side. Continue for 8 breaths.
7.

Bird Dog in Knee Hover

Image by mindbodygreen
  1. Start on all fours. Float your knees a couple of inches off the ground, and hold.
  2. Without shifting your hips, inhale and extend your right arm forward. Exhale as you crunch your abs and pull your elbow toward your torso. Reach it back out, then return it to the ground.
  3. Inhale as you extend your left leg out; squeeze through the glutes. Try not to lift your leg up much higher than your torso. Then exhale to curl your spine and crunch your body inward.
  4. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Continue for 8 breaths.
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Kristine Thomason
Kristine Thomason
mbg Health & Fitness Director

Kristine Thomason is the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen. Kristine is a New York University graduate with a degree in journalism and psychology, and also a NASM-certified personal trainer. She has spent her editorial career focused on health and well-being, and formerly worked for Women’s Health and Health. Her byline has also appeared in Men’s Health, Greatist, Refinery29, HGTV, and more. In her current role she oversees, edits, and writes for the health, food, and movement sections of mindbodygreen.