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3 Exercises to Build a Strong Back

Do you sit at a desk all day long during the work week, neglecting your posture? Back pain is typically a result of poor posture and can be extremely uncomfortable while affecting how you carry out certain activities. By practicing specific exercises geared toward strengthening the back, one can perform daily tasks with relative ease and protect themselves against injury.  The absolute key to these and any exercise is proper form! Without proper form, you are more likely to get injured than help strengthen your body. 

The back muscles are involved in just about every activity we do, so it is important to strengthen those muscles to handle all that work. Doing these back exercises will help strengthen the back, which can ultimately help alleviate and prevent back pain. It is highly recommended to have a stand up desk instead of a sit down desk if your job requires prolonged sitting. Sitting in general generates the highest amount of intradiscal pressure in your back, and is not recommended for long periods.


The one-arm dumbbell row is a great addition to your next back workout. This movement targets both the back and the core, two important muscle groups that are used daily. Beginners are advised to start off with light weights, such as 5 lb dumbbells, as they build strength. 

How to:

You will need a bench or a sturdy thigh-high platform when performing this exercise. Place your right hand against the bench under your shoulder, keeping your arm straight. Rest your right knee on the bench as well, stepping your opposite leg out to the side. With your free hand, grab the dumbbell off the floor and pull it up to your side until your upper arm is parallel with the floor. Lower the dumbbell back to the floor and repeat. Make sure it’s a controlled movement and you’re not swinging the weight. 

Band Pull-Apart

The band pull-apart exercise can be done with any resistance band with light to medium-light resistance. This exercise will help strengthen your mid and upper back, improve your posture and give you strong, healthy shoulders. 

How to:

Stand up straight and hold the resistance band out in front of you at chest height. Your hands should be shoulder width apart. Slowly pull the band apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together and holding this position for 3 seconds. Finally, return to the starting position. 


While the deadlift is known as a leg exercise, this movement can also help strengthen the back. Deadlifts can increase core strength, core stability and improve your posture. This ultimate lower-back exercise can help decrease back pain, decrease the risk of injury and improve functional strength. However, keep in mind that this particular exercise can also be very dangerous if you do not have proper form and lift too heavy. 

It’s best to be able to do a minimum of 12 reps. Your initial set should be a minimum of 15 reps. Dr. Melamed recommends making this exercise the last one in your routine so you are already tired and do not lift too heavy of a set, potentially injuring yourself and wearing out your spine.  

How to:

Using a barbell, place your feet underneath your hips. Dr. Melamed recommends having the barbell on a platform so you don’t have to bend down and pick up the weight as it’s basically at your arm length. 

Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip. Bend your knees until your shins almost touch the bar and lift your chest up, straightening your lower back. In a neutral position, slowly pull up the weight using your back muscles. Very slowly, lower the bar making sure the bar touches your thigh and your shin as you go down. Initially go halfway down. On your second rep, go a little bit more down, and by the 4th rep you can go all the way down .Do not bounce the weights and do not swing. 

You should always speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise routine. If you are unsure how to perform an exercise without hurting yourself, always seek professional guidance. 

Back pain is a common condition that can affect anyone at any age. While most cases are acute, not knowing the exact cause of your pain can be troublesome. For chronic back pain that does not subside after three months with conservative treatment, contact The Spine Pro, Dr. Hooman Melamed.