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How to Get a Strong Back

Back aches got you down? Try these tips to strengthen your back and say good-bye to pain forever!

Planks and bridges: A strong back comes from a strong core, so though it might seem somewhat counterintuitive, core strength should be your primary focus in trying to gain back strength. For planks, face the floor and rest on your forearms and toes. Your body should be in a straight line, not dipping too low or with your butt arching too high. Hold for 30 seconds, eventually working your way up to 90 seconds. For bridges, lie on your back, knees together and feet on the ground. Clasp your hands underneath your butt and lift your core and butt off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, eventually working your way up to 90 seconds.

Supermans: Lie on your stomach, feet and arms shoulder-width apart, and spread out like a starfish. Lift one arm and the opposite leg up and down 20 times, then switch. Repeat.

Rows: Prop your left knee on a bench and grasp the edge of the bench with your left hand. Hold a heavy weight in your right hand, and pull it up along the side of your right leg, squeezing your back muscles as you go. Stop when your arm can’t comfortably come up anymore. Lower, then repeat. Do three sets of eight reps on each side.

Lat pull-downs: Sit down at the lat pull-down machine in your gym and add enough weight so it makes you work hard but isn’t so difficult that you’re straining your back too much. Pull the bar down in front of your face and to your chest. Slowly guide the bar back up. Do three sets of eight reps.

Back flies: Using a pair of light weights (start with 3 lbs.), stand slightly bent over with your feet shoulder-width apart, or sit down on a bench or chair and bend at the waist over your legs. Start with your arms hanging down at your sides, and while keeping your core muscles tight and engaged, lift your arms up and out (into a flying position), stopping at shoulder level, as you squeeze your shoulder blades. Lower back down. Do three sets of eight reps.

Nestpert: Leanne Shear is a writer, personal trainer and coach. You can read more about her at LeanneShear.com.

-- Samantha Leal