Back workout: 10 exercises to strengthen the back and spine

Don’t overlook the importance of a strong, well-toned back. It plays a central role in overall health and posture. A strong back not only supports your spine, but also improves your posture and contributes significantly to your overall strength. To achieve this, it is essential to incorporate back-focused exercises into your routine.

According to Jashan Vij, health and fat loss coach, performing a dedicated back workout helps strengthen the muscles of the back and spine, reducing the risk of back and neck pain and preventing muscle imbalances.

“A strong back provides stability to the spine and supports the body during various movements, whether in daily life or during physical activities.”

We have listed some best exercises you can do at home and in the gym to get a toned back and a stronger spine.

back workout at home

Perform these 5 back exercises at home to tone and strengthen your back!


The Superman exercise is a great starting point for strengthening your back. It targets the lower back muscles (lower back pain) and helps improve posture. To perform this exercise, lie face down with your arms stretched out in front of you. Lift your chest, arms, and legs together off the ground, as in a flying position. Hold the position for a few seconds, then come back down. Repeat for a set of 12 to 15 repetitions.

Try Superman pose to strengthen your spine and core. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Plank

Although planks primarily work your core, they also engage your entire back, helping to stabilize and strengthen it. To do a plank, get into a push-up position with your weight resting on your forearms and toes. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe, engaging your core and back muscles. Hold for as long as you can, trying to gradually increase your time.

3. Maintaining push-ups

The push-up is an isometric exercise that targets the upper back and shoulders. Start in a push-up position, but instead of doing reps, hold the position with your arms fully extended. Focus on compressing your shoulder blades to engage your upper back. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat for 3-4 sets.

4. Dumbbell Deadlift

Deadlifts are a classic exercise for building overall strength, and they particularly target the lower back and tone the glutes. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, bend your hips and knees to lower the dumbbells to the floor. Next, stand up straight, bringing the dumbbells back to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

deadlift with dumbbells
The deadlift is the best for building and strengthening muscles! Image provided by: Shutterstock

5. Bird Dog

The bird dog exercise helps improve balance and stability while strengthening the lower back and core. Start on all fours in tabletop position. Simultaneously stretch your right arm forward and your left leg backward, keeping your back straight. Hold the position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Perform 10-12 reps on each side for 2-3 sets.

Back workout for the gym

Here are 5 toning exercises to do at the gym that can help tone and strengthen your back:

1. Pull-ups

Pull-ups are a compound exercise that primarily targets the latissimus dorsi (lats), the large muscles on the sides of your back. To perform it, hang from a pull-up bar with your palms facing outward in an overhand grip and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Lower your body with control. You can also do this exercise at home if you have a pull-up bar. Aim for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

2. Dumbbell squat

Squats with dumbbells, a dynamic exercise, are excellent for toning the back and strengthening the spine. To get the benefits of barbell squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Bend your knees and hips, lowering your body as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight, chest up, and knees aligned with your toes. Push through your heels to return to a standing position. Repeat for the desired repetitions.

weighted squats
Be careful when performing weighted squats. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Side pull down

Vij says, “The pull down machine is another great way to target your lats and strengthen them. To perform this exercise, sit in front of a side-pull machine and grab the barbell with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest up and pull the bar towards your chest while focusing on using your back muscles. Slowly release the bar. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

4. Pull the right arm cable down

The straight-arm cable targets your lats and engages your entire back. It helps build the width of your back muscles and improves the mind-muscle connection. To do this exercise, stand in front of a high pulley cable machine. Attach a straight bar or rope to the pulley. Grasp the bar or rope with an overhand grip, arms fully extended. Take a step back to create tension. Without bending your arms, pull the bar or rope in front of you while engaging your lats. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the movement and slowly release the barbell back up. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

back workout
This exercise can benefit your spine. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Weighted Hyperextension

Vij says, “The weighted hyperextension exercise primarily targets your erector spinae muscles, which run up your spine and keep your spine strong.” Position yourself on a hyperextension bench, securing your legs and hips. Cross your arms over your chest or hold a weight plate against your chest. Bend over at your hips, keeping your back straight, and lower your torso to the floor. Keep your glutes and lower back engaged. Raise your torso to align it with your legs, avoiding excessive extension at the top.

Add these exercises to your daily workout routine and it will reduce the risk of back or spinal pain, stiffness and lack of mobility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *