Back Exercises for a Stronger Spine

Building strength in your back is the best way to avoid back pain and spinal conditions that could cause long-term, debilitating symptoms. Regular exercise can prove difficult for many people who may be reluctant to commit to an expensive gym membership or struggle to make time in their busy lifestyle. Fortunately, building strength in your back doesn’t have to be a big commitment. 

In this article, we will outline some of the most effective 10-minute exercises for a stronger spine. These exercises are ones you can practice at home, in your own time, and with minimal to zero investment in equipment. 

The Benefits of Back Exercises

There are 4 key benefits of regular exercise to target your spine.

1. Improve Your Core Strength

If your abdominal muscles are weak then the chances of back pain increase. These muscles provide vital support to your spine and help to share the load with the muscles in your back so they don’t become strained. Exercising both your back and abdominal muscles results in a stronger core, resulting in a healthier and more balanced body. 

2. Improve Flexibility

Performing exercises that target your back improves your overall flexibility, meaning your spine is less likely to suffer injury when performing everyday movements such as bending and twisting. 

3. Boost Circulation

Exercise increases blood circulation which ensures nutrients can reach their intended destination more effectively. Your spine requires constant nourishment to keep the discs, ligaments, nerves, and spinal cord healthy, and by doing so, the chance of disease is greatly reduced. 

4. Release Endorphins

Natural endorphins are neurotransmitters that are effectively chemical signals that cause positive reactions in the brain. By releasing more endorphins that interact with the brain’s receptors, a person’s well-being can improve significantly and any symptoms of pain can be better managed. 

7 Exercises for a Stronger Spine

Even if a person only has time to exercise for ten minutes a day, the effects can be impressive, helping to build strength in the spine which can provide long-term benefits. Below are 7 simple exercises that target your spine, lowering the chance of injury and the development of spinal conditions.

1. Pelvic Tilts

This exercise is effective at releasing tension in the spine and can boost flexibility. Simply on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the ground. Then push your stomach upwards to create an arch shape and hold that position for 5 seconds before easing back down to the floor.  

2. Abdominal Curls (Partial) 

When working towards a stronger spine you cannot just focus on your back muscles, your abdominal muscles also require attention. This exercise is performed by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, with your hands crossed over your chest. Once in this position, lift your head and shoulders off the floor (around 2 inches), breathing in and out as you do so. You should also make sure that your spine is aligned with your neck to avoid strain. 

3. Knee-to-Chest Stretches

An easy exercise that stretches your spine and eases any lower back pain that you may be suffering from. Again, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, then use your hands to pull one knee towards your chest. Hold this position for 5 seconds, return to your starting position, and then repeat with your other knee. 


4. Bridges

Bridges are a great way to build strength in your back, buttocks, and hamstrings to better support your spine. Start with your back and feet flat on the floor and your knees bent, then lift your hips in a slow and gentle motion with your shoulders touching the floor at all times. Hold this arched position for 5 seconds and then repeat.

5. Rotational Stretches

An exercise that involves gently twisting your spine to engage your core muscles. In the usual starting position of your back and feet flat on the floor and knees bent, start by stretching your arms out to each side with your shoulders still touching the floor. Next, twist your body so both knees touch the floor, hold for 5-10 seconds, return to the starting position, and then repeat on your other side. 

6. Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Simple shoulder blade squeezes target the muscles in the upper back to improve posture and can be performed when sitting or standing. Using your muscles, pull your shoulder blades inwards and hold for 5 seconds. That’s it. You could even though this multiple times a day while working at your desk. 

7. Cat-Cow Stretching

The cat-cow is a yoga pose that is intended to make the spine more flexible. First, crouch on your hands and knees with the knees apart (the same width as your hips). Then arch your back by using your abdominal muscles to pull your belly upwards (cat position). Next, relax the muscles and ease your belly to the floor while gently lifting your hips (cow position).

Cat Cow Stretching

Pain Management When Strengthening Your Spine

If you are suffering from a spinal condition but are keen to strengthen your spine through exercise then it is likely that you may experience some pain and discomfort from time to time. Let’s consider some of the options that are available to manage this pain while sticking to a sensible exercise regime.

Many people suffering from back problems read conflicting reports about the best painkiller for spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and other spinal conditions. The truth is that this can differ from person to person, and some trial and error may be required to find the perfect solution. 

Medication options include:

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen
  • NSAID cream or gel
  • Paracetamol
  • Muscle relaxant medicine, such as diazepam
  • Opioids such as morphine for severe pain
  • Epidural injections that contain local anesthetic

For mild pain, you may find that a heat or ice pack may prove effective for offering temporary relief. 

Thank you for reading. We hope you have fun experimenting with some of the exercises above and the results are noticeable.