Many people think that abdominal work is enough to help support their backs. Not true. You also need to work the opposing muscle group—the erectors that line the spine to improve posture and prevent back injuries.
I call these two back exercises “Aqua” due to the fact that you perform them in the prone position, as if you are swimming face down in a swimming pool.
Works: Back Erectors, Glutes, Hamstrings, Deltoids
Where to perform them: Flat Surface—picnic table, bench, grass, sand, concrete, a carpeted floor, etc.
Starting Position: Lie face down on the ground with your head in line with your spine. Lengthen your arms out long overhead, palms down on the ground.
Action: Lift your right arm and your left leg up, pause, then lower. Alternate, by lifting your left arm and right leg. Continue, slowly lifting and lengthening your opposite arm and leg, as if you’re swimming.
Repetitions: Start with 8-10 reps; work up to 2 sets of 10-20 reps
Post Exercise: Stretch out your low back by lifting your hips up and back, and resting them on your heels. Reach your fingertips forward alternating between your right arm and left arm, feeling the stretch in your shoulders and upper back.
• Keep your head in line with your spine. Do not rest your forehead on the ground.
• With each lift, lengthen your arms and legs as if someone is pulling on them.
• When you are ready, flip over to perform the next exercise, which strengthens your backside and the muscles that line your spine.
Variation: Aqua Pulse
Starting Position: Set up the same way you do for the Aqua (above). Lift your right arm and left leg. Lift and lower your arm and leg with small controlled movement that feels like pulsing (without touching the ground) lifting up and down about 1-2 inches.
Repetitions: Start with 10 per side, then work up to 20 per side.
• Harder: Start with 25-30 per side, then subtract five with each set until your reach 5 per side.