The back hosts one of the largest muscle groups in the body and is critical for your overall health. These muscles support your spine and keep your back erect. They also help you lift objects, and allow your back to bend and twist in multiple directions. As is obvious, any weakness in these muscles will have a debilitating effect on your everyday life.
Women, in particular, need to pay extra attention to their backs. There are as many as seven kinds of back pain that mostly affect women. The biggest reason women are susceptible to back issues is pregnancy, and the hormonal as well as spinal changes that come with it. Worse, women with weak backs tend to face more pain during pregnancy – it affects 50% – 70% of all pregnant women. There also is osteoporosis, the unnatural thinning of the bones that affect women disproportionately. In the US, 80% of those who suffer from it are women.
As a result, if you’re a member of the fairer sex, you need to work your back muscles that much harder. But, as with all exercises, ensure you warm up your muscles before you work them into shape. You could use these stretches to limber up.
Here are some exercises for women to strengthen their back muscles.
Or, let’s just call it superwoman, shall we?! Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended out, so that your body forms a line. Now, tighten your abs as well as glutes, to lift all your limbs, head, and chest off the ground. Try to keep your head in line with your spine. Hold this position for up to 5 seconds, and release it all down. Build up your strength till you can easily handle 20 reps.
This exercise strengthens your butt as well as lower back and is relatively easy. To do it, lie on your back, with your knees up, and your feet flat on the floor, a shoulder’s width apart. Keep your arms limp by your side, and putting pressure on your feet, lift your butt off the floor. Get your body up till your butt forms a straight line with your shoulders and knees. Then, lower it back to the floor, rest a few seconds, and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps each.
Get your body into a plank position, with your palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart, your arms locked straight, and your torso forming a straight line with your shoulders and feet. Now, keep your hips parallel to the ground, engage your core, and lift your left hand off the ground. Keep your arm close to the body, raising your elbow high until your palm is close to the armpit. Get the palm back down into the starting position, and do the same with your left hand. Do 12 reps for each side. Ensure that you hold position well, not allowing your shoulders to shrug, or your torso to move from side to side. Once you’ve mastered it, you can up the ante by holding a dumbbell in each hand as you perform this exercise.
The reverse fly strengthens the muscles that give you good posture. So, if you want to hold your shape effortlessly, repeat this exercise in 3 sets of 12 – 15 each.
Hold a dumbbell in both hands, bend your knees a bit, and hinge your back forward at the waist so that your upper half is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Let your arms hang down loose, with a slight bend in your elbows, palms facing inwards. Keeping your core engaged, lift your arms, with an outward motion until the dumbbells swing up above your back. If this is too difficult to start with, use smaller dumbbells, or perform this exercise without dumbbells at all.
Get your palms and knees on the ground, with your back up, much like a dog. Do make sure that your palms are under your shoulders, and knees under your hips. Now lift your right arm and left leg upwards, until they are both parallel to the ground. Then, lower them back into the starting position. Now, lift your left arm and right leg upwards in the same vein, until they point straight out from your shoulders and hips.
Together, both the above movements make up one rep. You’ve got to do 15 – 20 reps in one set, and aim to complete 3 sets at least. If you’d like a more detailed insight into this exercise, head over to a page with more than 15 back exercises for women.
Stand with your hips back, so that your knees are slightly bent, and your back is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Place a dumbbell in both hands, palms facing inwards, and lift your elbows straight up until your forearms form a right angle along with your upper arms. Do ensure that you engage your core, keeping your back still and straight. Also, move your arms up and down in the same vertical plane.
If you can do 20 reps in 3 sets you know you’ve got a back that’s strong and supple.
This exercise is so named because it resembles a bow. And one (or 20) in the morning is always a good thing!
Place your feet shoulder-width apart, and holding a dumbbell each, lift your palms to just above your shoulders, with your elbows bent and your forearms and upper arms parallel to each other. With a slight bend in your knees, hinge your back forward, until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Now lift your back up, and repeat. Always ensure that your back is ramrod straight.
Aim to reach up to 3 sets of 20 reps each.
Your back can make your life easy. But, if you don’t give it enough care and attention, it can be – yup, a pain in the back, literally. So go the extra mile, and give those muscles a thorough workout. After all, prevention is better than cure. So, strengthen your back, so that it’ll never let you down.
Which are your favorite back exercises? Tell us in the comments below.