Five Exercises to Strengthen Your Spine

August 15, 2019
To strengthen your spine, it's important to do regular exercise. Luckily, there are many activities that you can do from the comfort of your home.

To strengthen your spine, you should dedicate some time to exercising. Although many people choose to lead sedentary lifestyles, exercising regularly strengthens the muscles of this area and also reduces the risk of problems such as herniated discs or sciatica.

On the other hand, it helps to improve body posture, often a factor that leads to back pain. In the long run, exercising reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis.

Do you want to learn more?

Below, discover five great exercises to strengthen your spine.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Spine

When practicing exercises to strengthen your spine, you must first consider your physical ability, age, and health condition. If you suffer from a condition or specific injury, it’s best to consult a professional to determine whether you should do these exercises.

If the professional green lights you to do them, you should know that you’ll only benefit from these exercises if you do them regularly. It’s useless to do them a couple of times a week and then return to a sedentary lifestyle. Make them part of your routine!

1. General back stretch

Exercises to strengthen your spine.

This exercise helps stretch your back muscles and promotes relaxation through breathing.

General back stretching is a simple, low-impact exercise to strengthen your spine and reduce the recurrence of back pain. It’s complemented by a short breathing exercise for greater benefits.

What to do

  • First of all, lie on your back on an exercise mat.
  • Then, bend your legs and bring both knees to your chest, with the help of your hands.
  • After that, breathe through your nose and release it through your mouth.
  • Return to the starting position and do 15 repetitions.

Make sure you read: Find Out How to Stretch Your Spine in Just 2 Minutes

2. Lying oblique crunch

Oblique crunch.

In addition to strengthening your back, this exercise also strengthens your obliques.

This simple exercise has interesting benefits. On one hand, it strengthens your lower back and decreases the physical pain. On the other hand, it exercises the obliques and helps shape your waist.

What to do

  • First, lie on your back on the mat with your legs bent.
  • Then, bring your knees to the right and left, alternating either side.
  • Be sure to keep your shoulders and both feet on the mat.
  • While doing the movement, breathe through your nose and release the breath through your mouth.
  • Do between 12 and 15 repetitions per side.

3. Strengthen your spine with a posterior stretch

Posterior stretch.

If you find it difficult, you can use a resistance band to promote stretching.
Posterior stretch is a good complement when your goal is to strengthen your spine. Not only does it exercise the muscles, but it decreases the tension that usually affects the lower back.

If you want, you can use a resistance band to make it easier. You have to place it on the foot you’ll be lifting and hold it with both hands.

What to do

  • First, lie on your back on the mat with your legs bent.
  • Then, take a breath through your nose and stretch one leg.
  • After that, exhale through your mouth while you raise the leg you had previously bent. Raise it toward the ceiling, keeping your knee fully straight.
  • Hold the posture for five seconds and lower slowly.
  • Do 10 to 12 repetitions with each leg.

4. Upper abs

A woman doing crunches.

Core exercises such as crunches also benefit your lower back.

The advantages of exercises to strengthen your spine is that they’re also useful for working out other muscle groups. In this case, we propose you do upper ab exercises that let you exercise your abdomen and back at the same time.

What to do

  • Maintaining the basic position (lying face-up on the mat), put your hands behind your head or crossed over your shoulders.
  • Then, take your chest and shoulders toward your knees. Be sure to keep a neutral position.
  • Hold for three seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Do between 12 to 15 repetitions, combined with breathing exercises.

Read on: The Relationship Between Your Spine and Organs

5. Contralateral leg and arm lift

Doing contralateral leg lift to strengthen your spine

To do the exercise correctly and avoid injuries, your arms and legs must be aligned.
In addition to strengthening your spine, this exercise is perfect for coordination. You can do it lying face down or on all fours. If you don’t have enough strength, it’s best to start with the first option.

What to do

  • Lie face down, with your legs fully stretched on the mat and a pillow under your abdomen.
  • Then, raise an arm and leg on the opposite side, without lifting your body from the mat.
  • Hold the position for three to five seconds and go back to the initial position.
  • Then, do the same exercise but with the other arm and leg.
  • Do 12 to 15 repetitions.
  • If you choose to do it on all fours, get on all fours and repeat. However, be sure that your raised arm and leg are properly aligned with your back.

Final tips to strengthen your spine

Exercises to strengthen your spine can be very beneficial if you do them correctly. If you have questions about any position, consult a professional trainer. Keep in mind that not doing the above exercises correctly can have negative consequences.

On the other hand, if you want to maintain a healthy spine, you should supplement these exercises with other healthy habits. Thus, be sure to apply the following in your daily routine:

  • Eating healthy foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Correct your body posture, both when walking and when you’re seated.
  • Do breathing exercises.
  • Manage stress through relaxation therapies.
  • Avoid physical overexertion, especially if you’re not in a good physical condition.
  • Take calcium and vitamin D supplements after consulting your doctor.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.

Do you have a back condition? Do you have recurring back pain? Then you should do all these exercises. However, if your symptoms don’t go away or are rooted in another condition, see your doctor to determine how to treat it.

  • Kumar, T., Kumar, S., Nezamuddin, M., & Sharma, V. P. (2015). Efficacy of core muscle strengthening exercise in chronic low back pain patients. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. https://doi.org/10.3233/BMR-140572
  • Baerga-Varela, L., Abreu Ramos, A. M., & Abréu Ramos, A. M. (2006). Core strengthening exercises for low back pain. Bol Asoc Med P R.
  • Caufriez, M., Fernandez, J. C., Fanzel, R., & Snoeck, T. (2006). Effects of a program of constructed training in Hipopressive Gymnastic on the vertebral cervical and dorsolumbar statics. Fisioterapia.
  • Rainville, J., Hartigan, C., Martinez, E., Limke, J., Jouve, C., & Finno, M. (2004). Exercise as a treatment for chronic low back pain. Spine Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1529-9430(03)00174-8
  • van Middelkoop, M., Rubinstein, S. M., Verhagen, A. P., Ostelo, R. W., Koes, B. W., & van Tulder, M. W. (2010). Exercise therapy for chronic nonspecific low-back pain. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.berh.2010.01.002