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How to Exercise the Erector Spinae

The erector spinae muscles run the length of your spine on both sides. These muscles are responsible for straightening and extending your spine and they help you bend your spine to the side. The erector spinae play an essential role in your posture. Including strengthening exercises for these muscles maintains or improves your posture. Strengthening this muscle group may also help alleviate low back discomfort associated with muscular imbalances in the torso and hips.

Complete the opposite arm and leg lift exercise. Lie on your stomach on your mat with your arms extended on the floor in front of you. As you lift one arm a few inches off the ground, lift your opposite leg up slightly from the mat as well. Return your arm and leg to the ground and repeat with the opposite limbs.

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Do a lying low back extension. Lie face down on your mat. Bend your elbows in toward your body. Place the palms of your hands under your shoulders, resting your forearms on the ground by your side. Engage your lower back muscles and slowly lift your head and chest a few inches off of the ground, keeping your head in line with your spinal column. Do not use your hands to press yourself up, and avoid hyper-extending your back. Lower your chest back down in a controlled manner.

Perform a kneeling spinal balance exercise. Position yourself on your hands and knees. Pull your belly in so that your back is straight, checking your alignment in a mirror, if possible. Reach one arm out straight, holding it parallel to the floor. At the same time, press and lift your opposite leg out behind you so it is also parallel with the floor. Gently bring your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

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Utilize the stability ball for a ball walkout. Place your stomach down on the ball and place your hands in front of the ball, shoulder-width apart. Press your palms into the floor and keep them directly under your shoulders. Slowly walk your hands and shoulders forward into a plank position, keeping your core taut, allowing the ball to roll back along the bottom of your legs. Walk your hands out as far as you can while keeping your body in a plank position. Reverse the movement and walk your hands back in to resume your starting position.

Complete the lying back extension on a stability ball. Facing downward, place the stability ball under your stomach or hips. Place your hands on the ball in front of your chest or on the floor in front of you to aid balance. Use your feet for balance as well, placing them on the ground behind the ball shoulder-width distance apart or wider. Similar to the mat version of this exercise, lift your chest until your back is straight without using your arms. Slowly lower your chest back down onto the ball. Keep your feet in contact with the ground throughout the exercise.


For each of these exercises keep your head in line with your spine.


Consult with your physician before beginning a resistance training program, especially if you experience any back discomfort or concerns.