A strong and flexible back is crucial, not just for athletic performance, but for everyday life. Back pain and stiffness are unfortunately a regular part of too many people’s lives. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Whether you have some back problems now and want to improve, or if you want to do your best to keep them at bay, it’s essential to exercise and keep moving for optimal back health. Add these four unique movements into your routine and build an unbreakable back!
4 Exercises to Give You an Unbreakable Back
Our spines are an incredibly complex structure, with some components meant more for mobility, and others for stability. Dozens of small muscles performing various roles run up and down the back to aid in backward, forward, side bending and rotation.
You could treat them all as one big unit to create a stiff, unyielding back, but the lack of mobility would quickly catch up to you. These 4 exercises combine mobility and strengthening together in a way that stimulates true functional back mobility.
1. Quadruped Back Circles
Start in a balanced position on all fours, with weight evenly distributed through your hands and feet. The circle is made by fully rounding out your back and keeping that position as you shift over to one side and then drop down to reverse the curve at the bottom, then over to the other side and return to the beginning. Work in one direction then switch.
Go slow and feel how your back moves in each part of the circle. You’ll likely notice some hitches and stiff points. Work on freeing those up and your back will thank you.
2. Upward Dog to Squat
The classic yoga posture is a great backbending exercise and is made even better when combined with movement into the bottom of a squat. In the upward facing dog, focus on lifting your chest forward and up to bend at the midback and elongate the lower back. Brace your stomach and push your hands down firmly to jump and transition to the squat.
This takes you from a backward bend to a neutral position, with movement control. That is a very important skill to have for spinal health.
3. Squat to Standing Forward Bend
This sequence focuses on movement from the bottom of a squat to a forward bend in standing. In this pattern, you are controlling your positioning from neutral to a flexed position and back again. This is another important action for spinal health.
Work on controlled breathing with deliberate movements, paying attention to the angles that feel more difficult to do. Those are the ones to focus on.
4. Alligator Roll
Here we see an obvious core exercise that begins flat on your stomach and rolls you from side to back and over to the other side to return to the stomach. This movement works on every muscle around your spine and is a great way to learn about your weak points immediately.
Learn to Flow and Bulletproof Your Back
Once you get the hang of each of these exercises by themselves, you can combine them into a flow – moving smoothly from one exercise to the next. This teaches you coordinated stability in mobility, and uses your strength in different patterns and movements.
The flow sequence I show in the video is just one example. Play around with different sequencing, changing the speed and position as you see fit and as you feel your body can handle.
If you want your body to be unbreakable (or as close to it as possible), you shouldn’t neglect your back. The more you have strength in control of good mobility, the more strain and force you can handle through your back and the more you can do with your body.