Health > 7 Back Exercises For A Healthy Life
8th Sep 2022
Exercise To Build Back Strength

7 Back Exercises For A Healthy Life

A healthy, strong, and flexible back is the foundation of all kinds of movement throughout our lives. As we age, we exercise less, and over time the strength in the back begins to wane. While a weak back makes it difficult to stand, lift heavy objects or walk for a more extended period, it also gives rise to back pain. Back exercises are essential to keep the upper and lower back muscles firm and the spine well-supported. This article will show you a range of workouts that will strengthen your back and enable you to do diverse forms of physical activity. 

1. Arm Raises 

Arm raises are a gentle workout that improves movement in the upper body and increases strength in the shoulders, and its activities in the upper back muscles, including the scapula (shoulder blades). 

How to perform

  • Lay down on the back on the exercise mat and get in a comfortable position. The workout can also be performed while sitting straight on a chair. 
  • Start from the arms relaxed on the side. Slowly raise the right arm until it is straight and pointing to the roof. Slowly lower the arm and repeat with the other arm. 
  • If you have arm pain that inhibits motion, raise the arm only until the point that it is comfortable. 
  • Repeat the movements eight times in one set and perform 2 or 3 sets as per your comfort.

2. Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder shrugs workout muscles that play a significant role in maintaining posture. Shrugs are simple workouts foundational to building middle and lower back strength. 

How to perform

  • Shrugs are often performed standing up; you can also complete the workout from a seated position as you become proficient. 
  • Start from the shoulders in a relaxed position. Gently lift the shoulder closer to your ears. Lift both sides at the same time. It is normal to feel some tension in the neck.
  • Lower the shoulders slowly and get back to the relaxed neutral position.   
  • Repeat the movement 8-10 times and perform two sets or more per your comfort. 
  • To make it more challenging, carry a 1 or 2 kg dumbbell in each hand while performing the shrugs. 
  • Follow the exercise with neck stretches to release tension in the neck muscles. 

3. Knee to Chest 

Knee to the chest is a core body workout that exercises all the muscles in the abdomen and back. The movement involves stretching the muscles in the lower back, making it one of the best exercises for lower back pain.


How to perform

  • Start by laying flat on your back in a relaxed position on your exercise mat. If you need extra support, you can put a pillow under the small of your back
  • Lift your right knee slowly and bring it closer to your chest. Exhale, and hug the folded leg using your arms to bring it closer to the chest
  • While performing this movement, you will feel slightly stretching tension in the lower back. Hold the posture for 5-10 seconds and release slowly as you inhale
  • Repeat the movement with the other leg. It is essential to take it slow and easy and not to stress yourself too much or hold your breath longer than it is comfortable
  • Once you’re proficient, you can simultaneously try the exercise with both knees
  • Repeat 5-8 times and rest

4. Hip Hinges 

Performing hip hinges builds the proper posture, which helps keep the spine straight when we bend to lift something. Performing appropriate hip hinges increases the strength of back muscles and avoids back pain in the long run. 

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with the feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. 
  • While keeping the back straight, use the core muscles to bend the knee while pivoting on the hips. You will find that your upper body turns forward while the back remains straight. 
  • The movement engages the core muscles and muscles of the upper and lower back.
  • You can also reach your arms down to give a deeper stretch to the lower back. 
  • Maintaining a straight back, hinge on the hips again to stand straight and return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat 8 to 10 times and ensure the back is maintained straight the whole time. 

5. Reverse Leg Lifts

Reverse leg lifts are moderately intense callisthenic exercises that build strength in the lower back, glutes, and legs. The practice involves all the large muscle groups in the back and should be carefully performed. To keep it safe, you will have to work your way up, especially if you are starting. 

How to perform

  • For balance, you will need support to perform this workout, such as a chair, table, or firm fixture. 
  • Stand straight with your legs and shoulder width apart while you rest your hands on the table. 
  • Slowly raise your right leg in reverse while keeping it straight for as high as it is comfortable. You can also lean forward slightly for more balance and leg extension. 
  • Lower the leg back to the ground and repeat the movement with the same leg 5 to 8 times. 
  • Perform one set with the other leg and do 3-5 sets as per your comfort level. 

6. Dumbbell Farmer Carry 

After the basic workouts for a few weeks, you can start using essential exercise equipment such as dumbbells and resistance bands. The dumbbells are used in day-to-day life, and the activities build the back, legs, shoulders, and arms. 

How to perform

  • Place 1 or 2 kg dumbbells on the floor parallel at shoulder width. Stand with your feet apart and pick up the dumbbells. 
  • The back should be straight throughout the movement, and you have to hinge on the waist to pick up the dumbbells while the weight falls on the heels. 
  • Pick up the dumbbells, stand straight and walk about 20-30 ft.
  • Place the dumbbells in the starting position and repeat the workout. 
  • You can perform 4-5 repetitions per set. 

7. Dumbbell bent over row 

Once you build strength in your shoulders and back, you can start moving to more challenging workouts. The dumbbell bent over row is an intermediate workout that works the lower, upper back, shoulders, and arms. You will need 2 or 3 kg dumbbells for this workout. 

How to perform

  • Start by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  • Hinge forward about 45 degrees keeping your back straight and knees slightly bent with the dumbbells hanging freely by the sides. 
  • Perform a rowing motion and bring the dumbbells next to your ribs while keeping the elbows parallel and level with the shoulder. 
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells and repeat the motion 8-10 times in a set. Perform 2-3 sets.  

Emoha App

With the Emoha app, you get access to 24/7 emergency support for non-medical & medical emergencies alike that can be availed from any place in India within seconds. You also get exclusive benefits like travel booking assistance, special discounts on travel & medicines, a helpdesk for daily support, and much more. You can also read exclusively tailored blogs for seniors on a number of topics ranging from health to wellbeing to entertainment. Download the app from Google Playstore or iOS App Store.


Back workouts are essential to improve your overall body strength and fitness. Start off from the simple basic movements and move to advanced ones over some time. Always warm up before exercising and stretch well after the workout to release muscle tension. Most important, remember to keep the movements natural and stop if it becomes painful or uncomfortable. 


Why is back exercise good?

Muscles in the back are responsible for maintaining proper spinal posture. Having a strong back is essential for lifting weights and performing various movements. A back workout also prevents back pain as people get older. 

Which exercises help to prevent back pain? 

Back pain can be prevented by exercising the back muscles gently and performing backstretches. The knee-to-chest workout is highly effective in stretching the lower back and reducing back pain. 

How do seniors strengthen their back muscles? 

Seniors can perform a range of back workouts, such as arm raises, shoulder shrugs, reverse leg lifts, hip hinges, dumbbell rows, etc., to build back strength and flexibility. 

Why is it essential for seniors to stay active? 

Staying active improves overall well-being and mood in seniors and delays or avoids the onset of lifestyle-related diseases.

What is the best form of exercise for seniors? 

Seniors should perform various workouts from walking to light aerobic exercise, squat exercise, yoga, stretches, and resistance training to keep fit. 


Read more:

Top 5 Theraband Exercises for the Senior Ladies

Top 10 Theraband Exercises To Do At Home

The Best Stretching & Flexibility Exercises for Seniors