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How to Strengthen a Weak Back

Is a weak back slowing you down?

If lifting or bending is difficult, or it hurts to stay in one position too long, this article is for you.

A weak back can lead to accelerated aging and reoccurring pain if left untreated.

Try this simple, at-home routine to build strength and support your back.

Weak Back? Try This.

In this video, Physical Therapist Tina Hines, PT DPT, explains how to build strength and support for the low back with safe, progressive exercises.

Your low back’s health depends on strength in your legs, core, and upper body.

If those areas are weak, you are likely to have a weak back because there is little or no support for your spine. When your spine moves or pulls too much, it can cause discomfort or pain.

You need to focus on leg, core, and upper body strength to correct a weak back.

When most people think about core strength, the first thing that comes to mind is crunches – and perhaps a sense of dread. Fortunately, crunches are not the answer here!

To start, give bridges a try.


To perform a bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Let your hands fall at your side.

Drive through your heels and lift your butt off the ground. Hold like this for five to ten seconds before relaxing.

Aim to complete two sets of ten repetitions.

When you feel comfortable with bridges, move on to squats.


Using proper squat form is important, not only for your low back but for your knees.

Start by standing tall with your feet firmly planted to perform a squat correctly. Shift your hips backward, pause briefly, then come back up to standing.

When bending, make sure your knees don’t extend past your toes.

Complete two to three sets of ten repetitions.

Once you’ve mastered the squat, move on to deadlifts.


Deadlifts promote movement between the hips and pelvis, which protects the low back.

Like a squat, start by standing up tall. Hinge back, hold for a moment, then return to standing.

Complete two to three sets of ten repetitions.

Are you struggling with back weakness or pain?

Sign up for the 2023 YMCA Wellness Series! Our Physical Therapist-led “Exercising with Back Pain” class will teach you the common causes of back pain and show you safe exercises to get relief.

Registration is free, all classes are held online, and you’ll receive a back pain guide designed to help you move and feel your best.



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