Beginners Back Exercises for Strengthening your Back Muscles

Back exercises for beginners with Physical Therapist Michelle Kenway from Please scroll down for written guidelines for doing these exercises I have included for my hearing impaired viewers. I hope you enjoy these back exercises and they give you more information about how to safely strengthen your back muscles. Your comments & questions are most welcome!

Your comments and questions are most welcome!

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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37 Responses

  1. Mrz rizzi says:

    It really helped me thanksssd😍😍😘

  2. I have slip disc problem l5 can i do these exercises

  3. donna laino says:

    You are terrific. Thank you for your videos. I'm a fan!,

  4. Jo Pearson says:

    With my big boobs I gotta lift a lot before my chest is off the mat, lol. Thanks for this, perfect for me right now.

  5. AN says:

    thank you so much! I had a massive stroke 10 years ago and have had back muscle weakness and pain since. I have been sent to PT several times they always focus on my lower back as if I have a bulging disc. but they ignore my mid and upper back where the pain is. I am going to perform these exercise regularly and am expecting great results. thank you!!

  6. Forza Gamer says:

    I watched this video because I have a kayaking race on Sunday 9th June. I have to stop better back muscles to paddle

  7. About a week ago I collapsed unable to move due to a horrible upper back pain, been on codein ever since. I have a gut feeling I should strengthen my back muscles and it would prevent this in the future. (As well as other exercises and good diet) do you think this is the right sort of work out for me? Or should I see someone first?

  8. Thanks for back excercise demos.

  9. These are perfect for for beginners – just what i was looking for. The pillow’s a great idea, too. Thanks.

  10. D Mark Price says:

    I like these videos but the sound is tough to hear what she is saying, not clear.

  11. awesome 👍 n thx so much 4 the training 💖😘

  12. thx michelle . . . cheers . . . . (i incorporate your moves into my warm-up routine before working my back with weights) . . . . .

  13. Cat Man says:

    I have been carrying extra weight and am doing my best to eat healthy and track my calories. Yesterday I was doing medicine ball twists and lifts, as well as squats. I woke this morning with a back spasm and pulled muscle, where my rib cage muscles are tense and it is hard to breath if I walk. I am going to try these exercises to try and strengthen my back once it heals. My doctor just says rest and take Ibuprofen for it. I get this once or twice a year. Usually if I try my old weight lifting routines. Even with light weight. Any exercise that would help mid back? I was thinking 9f dropping strength training and do more cardio and functional exercise.

  14. Madison Taff says:

    I don’t need beginner I need advanced but I can’t find and so it’s gonna be hard for me to be a flyer in cheer 😂

  15. How many times a day do you recommend I do this exercise? And how long until I notice results? I have an extremely weak lower lumbar, rounded shoulders, weak shoulder blades, winged scapula in left shoulder, weak neck. I've been dealing with it for a long time. I'm 28 years old and I'm noticing the hunch and forwardness worsen. I am too young to be going through this. I'd give anything to have a straight back again… Thanks.

  16. Surya Surya says:

    Dose it really works to get good posture .. because I have very bad posture …

  17. Aitch Cee S says:

    Excellent for your posture!

  18. Milk Tea says:

    Thank you so much for these! I went for my usual 2-3 mile walk a couple days ago and incorporated a half-mile jog for the first time in several weeks… I was shocked to realize soon after I was feeling some not-so-nice twinges in my lower back and ribs, which I've never had happen after a walk or run. I'm chalking it up to a lack of back strength, so hopefully these exercises will get my back into shape.

  19. mastermind says:


  20. Warp Zone says:

    I got sent here by a google search. It started the video @0:46 , and I can't understand your description of the first exercise. I don't know what you think the word "lengthen" means in this context. Why is "down" the direction you go to do the exercise, and "down" is also the direction you go to stop doing the exercise? They're opposites! Surely one of the downs is actually an "up?" I had to watch what you were doing with the sound muted and try and guess what you meant. Here's what I came up with:

    – Lie on the ground, face-down, with a pillow supporting your pelvis.
    – Put your arms alongside your body, and straighten them so that they are parallel with your back. This is the default rest position.
    – To do one rep, sort of shrug your shoulders while moving your hands away from the ground and keeping the arms straight. The goal is to bring your shoulder blades as close together as possible while arching your back.
    – Hold the rep for a moment, then carefully return to the rest position.
    – To increase resistance, add weight to your hands. Do this in such a way that keeps your palms facing the ground.

    Is this what you meant to say? I'm sure you know what you're talking about, but you should work on describing it in a way that can't be misunderstood.

    Use precise terms that only have one meaning, even if that means you have to use technical physical therapy terms. I can look up what a technical term means. I can't look up what you meant by using the word "up" two different ways in the same sentence.

    Thank you! 🙂 If I misunderstood how to do the exercise, please reply to this comment correcting me.

  21. Parichay Hin says:

    Do these exercises has any side effects?

  22. blog visiter says:

    What posture would u like to suggest for bow legs

  23. How do you consider lifting your hands for like 4 seconds a back workout lmfaoo

  24. thanx mam for this exercise

  25. Bronx P says:

    Thank you Michelle, I really need that. Do you need to stretch afterwards ? How many repetitions of each exercise would you recommend ? Great video

  26. I have scoliosis and my doctor told me to have stronger back musics to hold my spine in place… I’m trying this out for the first time and I hope it works for me!

  27. HW Z says:

    thanks for your kind explanation . it is easy to practice

  28. Not sure if you're still looking at comments, but wondering if these are safe for osteoporosis. I use your other great videos and trust you and them. I'm especially interested in strengthening my spine safely. Thanks for any feedback.

  29. WingedLeo says:

    I never knew back excercises existed.

  30. joe bob says:

    good video! Thank you..

  31. Lillian Kang says:

    Are these ok for diastasis rectiti

  32. DrJIsBae says:

    Thank you for this. How these be modified for people with large breasts, as mine are in the way a bit laying down? I'll incorporate these into my movements.

  33. yatsomitai says:

    Nice video. You get echo and background noises. Think of buying a mono-directional microphone. It costs little and will make your video sound much more professional. You can use a bluetooth version that connects to both cameras.

  34. __ says:

    I hate the fact that my hip is so small, i allways have to argue with some old ladies that i cant lift heavy stuff because my back hurts a lot if i have to lift stuff, half a day. And its work that is not even required. Her excuse for her stupid behaviour is my young age. Im 28 and i cant handle jokes about my back or the fact that i have to argue about it. Is she the one who is gonna have to feed me when something happans to my spine ? No …i feel useless enough knowing this. Goddamnit, sometimes i hate munaity so much.

  35. the videos are informative and useful

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