Far too many people focus on abdominal work, and then completely neglect the complimentary back muscles.
Aside from all of the superficial benefits in regularly training this particular aspect of your core, strengthening your back muscles can play a huge role in warding off lumbar pain, stiffness, and injury.
Make sure that you warm up before jumping right into this home workout video with at least 5 minutes of light cardio.
Back Bows – This Pilates exercise is a great way to use your own bodyweight to tone your upper and lower back. As an added bonus, lifting your legs up off of the ground, along with that upper body, ends up toning your obliques, glutes, and hamstrings as well.
Russian Twists – Doing the twisting motion at an angle engages your entire core; obliques, abdominals, and general lumbar region. You can easily make this more challenging by holding onto a dumbbell through the motion, or by lifting your feet up off of the ground and balancing on your tailbone.
Pilates Swimmers – While the primary benefit of is that these are a low impact way to engage both the lower and upper back simultaneously, these actually end up being a total body exercise. It might take a few awkward motions before you get your arms and legs in synch, so don’t get frustrated if you take an extra few seconds to get your upper & lower body coordinated. Make sure that you use smooth, controlled motions and never jerk in order to get more range of motion as this can increase the likelihood of injury.
Roll Downs – Standing tall with a light pair of dumbbells, roll your upper body down towards the ground as far as you can before uncurling as you come back up. Make sure to roll shoulders forward and focus on “rolling” your back down downwards, keeping your chest and shoulders relatively close to your thighs. As long as you choose a light weight, this is great for your lower back.
Kneeling Supermans – This is a low impact back exercise that feels great as a sort of a partial stretch. Make sure and squeeze at the top of each motion in order to get the most toning from the movement – not only in the upper and lower back, but also in the glutes.
Reverse Fly – For this motion that targets the rhomboids of the upper back, keep your back flat and a slight bend in your knees. Aim to get your arms just above the level of your chest, with your hands roughly out at the level of your ears. If you don’t have dumbbells, don’t let that stop you; you can always use resistance bands, water bottles, or cans of soup.
Physio Ball Back Extensions – For this one, you will need an open wall in order to steady your feet as an anchor to complete the extensions over the ball. Make sure to get as full a range of motion as you can by wrapping forward over the Physioball as far as you comfortably can before raising back upward. Controlled, slow motions should be your priority with this movement.
Medicine Ball Pendulum Swing – Keep your back and legs straight for this motion, rotating very slowly in order to fully engage the back and obliques. This should not literally be a “swing”; you should be in full control of the movement through the entire range of motion – do not use momentum. If you don’t have a medicine ball, a dumbbell works just as well.
Make sure that you stretch thoroughly after this workout.
Though the key muscle groups in this workout are the lower & upper back, most of the exercises are dynamic enough that they end up incorporating many other muscles, bumping up the calorie burn a bit; we estimate that this routine burns 165-210 calories total.