Fitness

11 Trainer-Approved Back Exercises For Better Posture

Combat that slouching.

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Strengthening your back is important for a couple of reasons. It’ll improve your posture, for one, says YogaSix instructor Tamara Teragawa. And since your back is what braces your spine, strong back muscles will reduce your risk of injury. Here, the best back exercises to try.

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Good Morning

Teragawa says this exercise works the lower back.

- Stand with feet hip-width apart, soft bend in knees.

- Hands behind head, elbows wide.

- Spine long, core engaged.

- Hinge at hips.

- Keep back flat, bring chest parallel to floor.

- Engage glutes, rise back up.

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Down Dog Push-Up

Teragawa also likes this move to engage shoulders.

- Begin in downward-facing dog yoga pose, hands slightly wider than shoulders.

- Slightly rotate hands in. Relax head.

- Bend elbows to tap the top of your head to floor.

- Push away from floor, straighten arms.

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Reacher Row

From Teragawa:

- On stomach, extend arms overhead, slightly wider than shoulders.

- Tuck chin to chest, lengthen neck.

- Press into feet, lift chest off floor, reach arms.

- Hold chest up, slide arms down to “goal post” position.

- Extend arms back out, lower chest.

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Deadlift

Trainer John Gardner says this move works all muscles in the posterior chain.

- Stand by barbell, feet hip-width apart.

- Bend knees, lean to grip bar.

- Push feet into ground. Drive hips forward, lift bar.

- Pull weight up, keep arms, back straight.

- Lower.

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Back Extension

Pilates instructor Gia Calhoun likes this move to strengthen the back.

- On stomach, arms at sides, feet hip-width apart.

- Pull abs in, imagine navel lifting off mat.

- Lift chest, shoulders, head off mat.

- Lift arms off floor, reach toward toes.

- Lower.

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Plank

A plank is basically the top of a push-up, Calhoun says. Bonus: The pose counteracts slouching.

- On all fours, extend legs behind you.

- Tuck toes, lift knees off mat.

- Lengthen your spine, tighten core.

- Engage and lift quads, thighs, heels.

Hold for 30 seconds.

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Bridge

This exercise targets the entire back of your body, Calhoun says.

- On back, knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms at sides.

- Press into feet.

- Lift pelvis off floor.

- Straight line from knees to hips to shoulders.

- Roll back down.

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Lat Pulldown

Coach Shelby shares how to do this on a machine to work your lats.

- Sit on bench, grab bar with arms overhead.

- Sit tall, lean back slightly at hips.

- Tuck elbows, bring bar down to chest.

- Stay seated, shoulders down.

- Pause. With control, reverse the movement.

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Bent-Over Row

Shelby also recommends a row to hit the traps and delts.

- Pair of dumbbells in hands, hinge forward at waist.

- Sink hips back, soften knees.

- Engage back muscles to row dumbbells up to chest.

- Pause, return dumbbells to start.

- Round back, repeat.

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Swimming

Pilates instructor Kaleen Canevari says this one helps to reduce back pain.

- On stomach, arms extend in front.

- Stretch long through legs.

- Hover head, chest off floor.

- Lift right arm, left leg off floor.

- Lower, repeat on second side.

Alternate.

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Seated Row

Exercise specialist Brooke Cavalla likes this move for improving posture.

- Sit, wrap exercise band around feet, knees slightly bent.

- Engage core.

- Pull handles back to core, just below ribs.

- Squeeze shoulder blades together.

- Return handles to start.