Health & Wellness

Back in Shape

By Josée Lavigueur


Your back muscles need to be worked regularly if they’re to provide you with stability. These two exercises will help maintain their strength and endurance. 

Upper Back With Weights

  1. Place the palm of your right hand on the seat of a solid, stable chair.
  2. In your left hand, hold a light weight such as a dumbbell or a water bottle; let your arm hang by your side.
  3. Keeping your elbow slightly bent, slowly raise your left arm almost up to your shoulder. Keep your head aligned with the extension of your back.
  4. Lower your arm slowly.
  5. Do two to 12 controlled repetitions, never going higher than your torso.
  6. Switch sides.


You can do this exercise without weights at the beginning—gravity will provide resistance—and add a bit of weight when the exercise becomes easy. You can also do it without a chair by putting more of your weight on your slightly bent front leg. 

Floor Back Extension

  1. Get on your hands and knees on a comfortable mat in a stable position.
  2. Raise and extend your left leg, in line with your back.
  3. Then raise and extend the opposite arm, still in line with your back. Look down at the floor, keeping your head aligned.
  4. Hold the position for two to 12 seconds, and then switch sides.
  5. Repeat two to 12 times on each side.


To increase the degree of difficulty, once you’re in position, raise and extend your opposing arm and leg and then slowly swing them out to the side in opposite directions and then back to the centre line; repeat three or four times. You’ll be working on your balance and extension at the same time.  

Pro Tips

You should never experience pain during physical exertion—don’t push yourself too hard. Over a few weeks, your back will become stronger and you can increase the weight and the number of repetitions.