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Strengthen your back with these exercises — even if you’re on the couch

Improving your back strength can help reduce back pain, shoulder pain, and also improve posture.

Frequently the back can be overlooked in workouts. You’ll do some cardio, arm exercises, and leg strength-training exercises, but do you ever dedicate a few exercises to strengthening your back?

Improving your back strength can help reduce back pain, shoulder pain, and also improve posture. Try out these three simple back exercises that can be done while lying on your stomach!

Back Extension

For a back extension, slowly peel your upper body and arms up off of the ground, and squeeze your inner thighs and glutes toward each other.
For a back extension, slowly peel your upper body and arms up off of the ground, and squeeze your inner thighs and glutes toward each other.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Lying on your stomach, rest your arms at your sides. Pull your navel in toward your spine and relax your shoulders down.

Slowly peel your upper body and arms up off of the ground, and squeeze your inner thighs and glutes toward each other. This is a back extension.

Then slowly lower back down towards the ground.

For a modification, you can place your hands underneath your forehead with your palms stacked on top of each other.

Repeat this 10 times.

Superman/Superwoman

Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a Superman/Superwoman back stretch.
Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a Superman/Superwoman back stretch.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Lying down on your stomach with your arms reaching out in front of you and your legs behind you, pull your belly button away from the floor.

Relax your shoulders, and lift your arms up a few inches off the ground. Then, contract your quads and squeeze your legs up off of the floor.

Lift the arms and legs up as high as you can, and then lower back down onto the ground.

You can turn your face to one side to rest, and then repeat 10 times.

‘Swimming’

Lift the right arm and the left leg, and then switch to lift the left arm and the right leg for this “swimming” exercise to work and tone your back muscles and core.
Lift the right arm and the left leg, and then switch to lift the left arm and the right leg for this “swimming” exercise to work and tone your back muscles and core.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Starting in the same position as the Superman/Superwoman, lift the arms and legs up off of the ground. Keep your head in line with your spine by looking down at the ground instead of looking up.

Repeat this for 30 counts.

Stephanie Mansour wants you to ‘“step up” your fitness regimen. Mansour coaches private clients in weight loss, provides fitness/health/lifestyles advice on national TV shows, and offers her free 21 Day Challenge online. Check out her fitness tips every Thursday in the Well section of the Chicago Sun-Times. And visit her website at stepitupwithsteph.com.