Back Strengthening Exercises

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Exercises for Back Pain


Exercises to Strengthen the Back
Your Back Strengthening Exercise Program should be determined by your posture type and back pain condition

This article doesn’t contain examples of good back pain exercises!

Here’s the reason why..

Back strengthening exercises are an absolute necessity for the long term management (and future avoidance) of back pain. However, I am not giving you any examples of good exercises just yet! Here’s why:

Quite often I have seen clients trying to manage their back pain with exercises, but have been doing home exercises incorrectly. Over time, this can lead to a delay in improving your symptoms, and if unlucky can lead to a worsening of your back pain or be the underlying cause in the development of new back pain symptoms.

So if you have back pain and are looking for exercises for back pain relief my advice is always to seek an expert’s advice prior to commencing a back strengthening exercise program. This may be your Physio or qualified fitness or Pilates instructor who is qualified and experienced in injury rehabilitation and management.

Back pain exercises can reduce your pain both in the short term and more permanently in the long term. However, success of any exercise program lies in:

  • Correct choice of strengthening exercises for your individual back condition.
  • Having them taught correctly to you.
  • And then performed correctly by you!

Let’s go into further detail as to why this is….

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Matching exercises to posture type and back pain condition

The type of back strengthening exercise that I would give you in my own clinic would depend on your postural type and the symptoms that you have, or have experienced in the past with your back.

If you have a “sway back posture” the exercises that I would give you would be very different to the ones I use for a “lordotic back posture”.

If your back pain was as a result of poor postural habits, then I would use posture exercises to strengthen your posture. However, if you have a specific weakness at one disc or joint level in your back, I would teach you specific exercises and ways of strengthening that part of your spine anatomy.

If you have a back flexibility problem, I would mobilise and loosen your back before I teach you strengthening exercises. I consider this to be very important, as if you strengthen around a poor alignment you may create further problems. Imagine a stack of bricks piled one on top of the other. If one of those bricks is out of alignment and you put cement around it to strengthen it, the end result would not be too good!!!

Similarly if you strengthen your spine while it is out of alignment the effect would not be too great either!!

Ultimately, back strengthening exercises are down to timing and specifics. If you use the correct strengthening exercise for your back at the right time the result will amaze you!

Now, without further delay, let’s look at some Back Pain Exercises


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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