Five exercises to whip your back into shape

Five exercises to whip your back into shape


Text: Denise Kok

Image: Getty Images

National water polo captain and Natural Healings ambassador Eugene Teo gives us the lowdown on strengthening that achy back

Gym-goers and trainers often tout a strong core as the key to better fitness, balance and stability, but many forget to mention a part of the body that deserves your full attention — the back. Most of us spend our days sitting at our desks and hunched over our mobile devices, inevitably developing some form of back pain that trickles down into our daily lives.

A strong back can help to improve posture, reduce pain, and even improve overall fitness. You don't necessarily have to hit the gym to work on your back. Here are some simple exercises that can be done at home.

1. Hip bridge

This simple move helps to counteract the after effects of spending too much time huddled at our desks, which can put excessive pressure on our spine. Hip bridges help to stretch the muscles of your lower back and abs. If this move is a breeze for you, challenge yourself further by lifting one foot off the floor and holding it straight up towards the ceiling.

2. Upward-facing dog or cobra

It's one of the most basic yoga poses and you don't have to be incredibly flexible to execute it. This elementary pose targets the lower back and helps to open up your shoulders to improve posture and back strength.

3. Reverse fly

Back strengthening exercises should not only target the lower back but the shoulders and upper back as well. The reverse fly move can help improve back posture and function if executed correctly. If you're doing this as part of a gym routine, it's ideal to hit these moves after some heavy lifting.

4. Planks

This move may be old but definitely gold. Not just for toning your six-pack, it builds strength and endurance in your shoulders and core, protecting your lower back from injury or strain. Take things up a notch by executing front planks with one leg raised or start slow by resting on your knees instead of your feet.

5. Legs against the wall

Simply lie on a flat plane, move your butt as close to the wall as possible, and stretch your legs straight up against the wall. This helps to relax the muscles at the lower back, and as an added bonus, drain fluid from the feet and ankles. Great for relaxing after a long day at work, or even when you're travelling.