According to the Australian Financial Review, all of Australia is prepping for a long work-from-home phase. If you’ve been missing your ergonomic office chair and desk, you probably need to start doing these back exercises at home.
These simple moves will take care of stiff muscles, that niggling ache in your lower back or tension in your neck and shoulders. And you don’t need any equipment except a foam mat to do them.
Let’s start with the easiest of all back exercises at home: the simple stretch. This exercise helps you limber up for the next poses you’ll be doing.
Sit on the mat with your legs outstretched.
Adjust your seated position so that you are sitting on your sit bones so that your back is straight. Try to keep the backs of your knees touching the mat.
Slowly raise your arms over your head and hinge forward from your hips, reaching towards your toes.
Keep your back as straight as possible and reach forward with your hands.
Modification: It’s okay if you can’t touch your toes, but you should lean forward enough to feel a stretch in your back and in your hamstrings.
Repeat 10 times.
This twist works like a massage on your spine and helps all the larger muscles open up after a day at your desk.
Sit up straight and tall on your sit bones.
Place your right foot on the outside of your left knee.
Stretch your left arm up and lengthen your spine, twisting to your right side slowly.
Wrap your left arm over your right knee to give you the extra leverage you need to deepen the twist.
Turn your head and look over your shoulder, as far as your head, eyes and neck will let you.
Return to neutral position and repeat on the other side.
Modification: It’s okay if you cannot wrap your arm around your knee yet. Twist your spine as far right as you comfortably can and place your right palm on the mat and your left palm on your knee.
In a largely sedentary lifestyle, the human body needs a full stretch in all directions. This exercise makes you feel like you’ve added inches to your height and relaxes your torso.
Stand on your mat with feet shoulder-width apart.
Lengthen your spine. Lift your right arm up and stretch it over to the left, sliding your left hand down your leg for support.
Do not put all your weight on your left leg. Use your core to control your movement.
Stretch as far left as you can and return to standing position.
Repeat on the other side.
This pose helps you stretch your back and legs, while making you feel powerful and focused.
Stand with your feet about 3-4 feet apart. Point your right foot towards the top of the mat and turn your left foot 45 degrees to the right.
Bend your right knee making sure that your right knee remains in line with your right foot.
Swivel your body to the right, raise your arms straight up and reach for the ceiling.
Breathe in and out for a few seconds. Then straight your leg, swiveling back to the centre and lower your hands.
Repeat on the other side.
This pose helps to open space in your belly and chest, and provides a great stretch to your chest too.
Lie on the mat on your stomach. Bend your feet so the tops of your feet touch the mat.
Place your palms at chest level and gently push upwards to lift your torso up. Keep your elbows close to your body.
Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed and maintain a soft bend in your elbows.
Let your entire spine work to stretch, and avoid putting all the pressure on only your glutes or lower back.
Hold the pose for 10 seconds, breathing softly.
Modification: If you cannot lift your hips off the floor without discomfort, you can do this pose with a reduced back stretch, keeping your chest closer to the mat and your thighs on the floor.
This is one of the most powerful back exercises at home to help build strength in your back, glutes, and thighs, but you must follow the correct posture to avoid injury.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
Engage your abs and lengthen your spine, and move your butt outward as if you’re about to sit down in a chair.
Shift your body weight to your heels, and bring your hands up in front of your face to help you balance.
Keep your knees facing outwards, pointing in the same direction as your feet, and always directly above your feet. Your knees should never be ahead of your knees.
Keep your chest open and your shoulders and neck relaxed.
Don’t let your lower back arch – maintain the core engagement.
Modification: In a full squat, your hips should be deeper than your knees, but most people cannot do this when they begin. Go as low as you comfortably can and straighten to standing position again.
Work towards stronger and deeper squats, as long as you are maintaining the correct posture throughout.
We’re coming to the end of our session for back exercises at home. This stretch will help open up space in your back and hamstrings.
Get on all fours, with your knees in line with hips and your hands in line with your shoulders.
Use the power in your core and thighs to lift your body up, reaching your tailbone up towards the ceiling.
Press downwards through your arms and flatten your chest towards your thighs.
Keep your neck relaxed and your head dipped down.
Remain like this for 10 counts and then straighten.
Modification: Try to press your heels flat on the floor but if the backs of your legs feel tight, stay on your toes.
Back pain can also be caused by tight hips and glutes, but can be greatly helped by back exercises at home. This posture helps to open your hips and inner thighs and releases any tension and tightness stored here.
Sit on the mat with your spine lengthened, your weight on your sit bones and your legs stretched out in front of you.
Bend your knees and bring your soles together. Lean forward and hold your soles, dipping your knees up and down (so they look like fluttering butterfly wings).
Modification: If this position is difficult for you, lie flat on your back with your buttocks against a wall, and let the wall support your legs.
Want to do more than simple back exercises at home?
These simple back exercises at home are easy to do and should be suitable for anyone without any preexisting health conditions. However if you feel any discomfort during these moves, stop immediately.
If you’re looking for a longer workout or for more guidance, you should check out our post on our favourite Youtube workout channels.
If you’re a complete newbie to exercise, it is recommended that you join a group fitness class or sign up for a personal trainer so that you can learn the correct postures. Avaana can also help you try out a yoga class or a Pilates session near you.