5 Moves for a Stronger Back & Better Posture

Jacquelyn Brennan
by Jacquelyn Brennan
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5 Moves for a Stronger Back & Better Posture

static.squarespaceSitting at a desk all day, slouched in front of a computer, can wreak havoc on your body—especially your back and hips. It’s extremely common for that sitting habit of yours to cause you to suffer from lower back pain, neck problems, tight hips flexors, and poor posture. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to stretch and strengthen your back and hips can alleviate some of those issues, help you feel better, and improve your productivity at the office! Here are 5 moves to practice before work, after work, or even at your desk!

1. Swimming Start by lying prone (on your stomach) with your arms and legs outstretched, legs hips width distance apart, and arms shoulder width apart. Lift your left arm and your right leg up, extending your spine and keeping your gaze down at the floor; then switch to the opposite arm and leg. Once you can maintain control, begin to increase your pace and continue to lift up, using your upper back muscles, back line of your arms, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side.

2. Opposite Arm and Leg Reach Begin on the floor on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees underneath your hips, making sure your elbows are not hyperextended. Hold strong through your core as you stretch your right arm forward and your left leg straight back. Keep your hips square by turning the leg that is lifted slightly inward. Think about maintaining a straight line from the fingertips to the toes. Switch sides slowly and with control, maintain a strong core throughout the exercise. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side.

3. Plank Holding a simple plank on your hands or forearms is a great core strengthening and back stabilizing exercise. Place your hands or elbows directly underneath your shoulders and extend your legs directly behind you. As you breath continue to engage your core to support your spine. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

4. Seated Chair Extensions Sit in a chair with a back with your body towards the back edge of your chair, place your feet flat on the floor, and your hands behind your head. Take a big inhale, then on your exhale begin to extend your spine over the back of the chair. Take a breath in your extension and then return to an upright position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

5. Seated Hip (Piriformis) Stretch Sit towards the edge of your chair with both feet flat on the floor. Pick up your right foot, and place your right ankle on your left thigh. Gently place your right hand on your right thigh and begin to hinge forward, allowing your right hip to open. Continue hinging at your hips to increase the stretch, being sure to maintain equal weight on both sides of your pelvis. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Switch legs, and repeat on the other side.

Feeling tight after a long day at work? Try these moves and let us know what you think in the comments!

About the Author

Jacquelyn Brennan
Jacquelyn Brennan

Jacquelyn Brennan is a health and wellness expert who shares her knowledge daily at Fitsouffle. She holds a degree in kinesiology, and currently teaches Pilates, group exercise, and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Jacquelyn loves inspiring others to get moving, stay healthy, eat well, and learn how to exercise effectively.


26 responses to “5 Moves for a Stronger Back & Better Posture”

  1. Avatar devans00 says:

    Doing the 2nd picture by itself feels good.

  2. Avatar Angela says:

    The exercise itself didn’t feel that great but once I completed them and relaxed my back felt great. Especially love the seated hip stretch. I wish working in an office wasn’t so bad for you.

  3. Avatar Anna says:

    Uhm.. plank? hinge? Is it just me or is this language from a physically fit universe I have yet to join? I’m just getting started & would love pics or videos or even just a Beyer break down using words that a beginner would understand. Going to give these a try the way I’m interpreting.

    • Avatar Anna says:


      • Avatar Rhonda says:

        Anna – I know what you’re saying. I didn’t understand what they meant by “hinge”. Glad to I’m not the only one.

        • Avatar WeatherAK says:

          “Hinge” is just to fold forward slowly from the waist so you slowly stretch..in this case..the hips. Go slow..

    • Avatar Zippy says:

      Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
      Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
      Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
      Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
      Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

  4. Avatar Shello Loan says:

    Is it possible to have more pictures in the articles ?
    A picture is worth a thousand words

  5. Avatar Bill says:

    Does “hinge” forward mean lean forward or does it mean sit up straight and push down on right leg?

  6. Avatar blooming322 says:

    I enjoyed them. But as over weight as I am some were very difficult.

  7. Avatar Remiss63 says:

    Additional pictures could be provided in a link to a “summary” PDF which could be downloaded for reference (not unlike recipe cards). Setting up a “standard” for the health/exercise industry could add incredible value to a membership/participation in myfitnesspal where a library of such reference cards could be available.

  8. Avatar Daisy says:

    I do these exercises at the gym each night. I can attest that they do work!

  9. Avatar rcamermaid says:

    need pictures – the swimming one doesn’t seem to make sense to me, if you are on the floor on your stomach and keeping your gaze at the floor – there isn’t much room from your nose to the floor. Is it just me?

  10. Avatar Wendy Schafer says:

    is there any way to make the page different so that there aren’t ads over the information?

  11. Avatar Mari says:

    this is “sorely” needed! I can barely do the seated hip stretch! Out of shape from sitting all day long! I’d love to see an article just having what you can do from your chair (where I’m stuck all day!) Thanks.

  12. Avatar KatieKat42 says:

    @ Anna, Rhonda & WeatherAK: I’m not any type of expert, but my physical therapist said that “Hinge” actually means to fold forward from the hips, not the waist. You get better results that way. 🙂

  13. Avatar healthnf says:

    And always used good posture seat while working in office or home

  14. Avatar Captain Jeff says:

    Read the detailed instructions for the yoga Mountain Pose & practice it daily til it becomes automatic, like putting your seat belt on when you get in car

  15. Avatar Seba Ramhamdani says:

    i think this article would benefit from illustrative pictures.

  16. Avatar jackie adkins says:

    I was thinkin just the same as Seba.

  17. Avatar speakthetruth says:

    PICTURES…..or better YET videos! HOW do you expect us to do these exercises when we have to keep reading the FREAKIN SCREEN to see HOW? LOL

  18. Avatar Daryl Martin says:

    Needs pictures!

  19. Avatar baguneta says:

    P I C T U R E S

  20. Avatar xiaobebe says:

    seriously, people? it takes less time for me to read the description of the simple stretch than it would for a video to upload and play. we are spoiled by da vidz

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