5 Exercises to Strengthen Your Back After Injury

Returning to exercise after an injury can be daunting. Still, it’s important to regain strength to build on your overall fitness and well-being. Suffering a back injury can make day-to-day tasks challenging. 

Whether that’s a recent injury or a long-standing problem, it’s important to do the right exercises to strengthen your back after injury to improve the health of your back for overall function. 

This guide will assist you in building strong, resilient back muscles safely and gradually, using core, upper and lower back exercises as well as detailing what exercises you may want to avoid. 

Keep in mind it is important to consult with a medical professional before undertaking any exercise post-injury for safe and effective rehabilitation.


Core Exercises After Back Injury

The core can sometimes be neglected when it comes to back rehabilitation, however, it is fundamental as a support system for the spine. Therefore, strengthening the core can reduce the strain on the back. Two exercises to help strengthen the core include:

Bird Dog Exercise

  • Begin on all fours whilst keeping your back in a straight line.

  • Whilst engaging your core muscles, simultaneously extend your right arm out in front of you and your left leg out behind you.

  • Hold the position for a few seconds then return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Ensure you are engaging your core muscles throughout the full exercise. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Leg Raises

  • Lie flat on your back on a mat on the floor.

  • Support your pelvis by placing your hands under your glutes and lower back with your palms facing upwards.

  • Start by raising your legs up whilst keeping your legs straight and together. Lift your legs until you can’t go any further without bending them.

  • Lower your legs back down maintaining the same form and repeat the exercise for 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets.


woman doing exercise to strengthen back

Exercises to Strengthen Lower Back After Injury 

It’s important to approach lower back strengthening exercises with caution after injury. Make sure to follow the guidance provided by your healthcare provider to avoid further damage. Some lower back exercises to consider using after injury include: 

Hip Bridge Exercise

  • Lie on your back on a mat on the ground. Place your arms by your sides and bend your knees keeping your feet flat on the ground.

  • Begin by lifting your hips off the ground until there’s a straight line from your knees all the way to your shoulders.

  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds then lower your hips down to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 3-5 times.


woman doing weights to strengthen back


Upper Back Exercises After Injury 

Make sure to be cautious when performing upper back exercises after injury and only carry out ones that have been recommended by a medical professional to avoid further injury. Upper back exercises to consider include: 


  • Grab a light or medium dumbbell or a resistance band.

  • If you are using a dumbbell, find a bench and place your right knee and hand on the bench with your left foot on the ground for support and the dumbbell in your left hand letting it hang down in front of you.

  • Begin by lifting the dumbbell up towards your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

  • Lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position and repeat the exercise for 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets. Make sure to switch to the other side to ensure both sides of the back are being worked.

Shoulder Blade Squeezes

  • Stand with your arms down by your side and keep your back straight.

  • Without lifting your shoulders, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and hold for 5-10 seconds.

  • Relax your shoulder and repeat the exercise 3-5 times


Exercises to Avoid After Back Surgery

It’s vital after back surgery to avoid exercises and movements that may imperil the healing and recovery process. It’s important to keep active after surgery to avoid further complications but it’s essential to follow the recommendations made by your healthcare professional. 

Walking is a great way to stay active, however, you should avoid any heavy lifting, high-impact activities, twisting movements, leaning and bending over during everyday tasks. 

If you are experiencing discomfort or pain during any exercises it’s crucial to communicate this with your healthcare provider. Additionally, if you are unsure about any movements or exercises, make sure to seek advice from a medical professional before attempting the movement.


woman exercising to improve back flexibility


Resume Your Fitness Journey With Village Gym

It can be scary to return to fitness after injury, but at Village Gym we are here to help guide you back into your journey. 

Our state-of-the-art equipment and facilities are designed for everyone no matter what stage of their fitness journey they are at. 

We have a range of low-impact equipment that is perfect for easing back into the gym for rehabilitation after injury. 

At Village Gym, we also have premium amenities including pools, saunas and steam rooms that will help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, contributing to your overall recovery.


FAQs About Exercising After a Back Injury


Is exercise good after a back injury?

It’s good to gradually increase your exercise after surgery. Make sure to do the exercises that were recommended by your medical professional and avoid exercises and movements that will jeopardize your healing and recovery.


How long after a back injury can I exercise?

This ultimately depends on the nature and severity of the injury. It’s important to consult with a medical professional to determine the extent of your injury and the recovery and rehab time. They will also recommend particular exercises to perform to promote recovery.


How to get back into exercise after a back injury?

Returning to exercise after a back injury should be approached with caution. It’s crucial to start light and gradually increase the quantity of exercise carefully and safely to avoid further injury. Always consult with a medical professional and follow professional advice.


Is it good to stretch after a back injury?

It’s important to move around each day, gradually increasing the amount you do daily. If you keep active, the recovery can be quicker. Stretching can be beneficial to improve mobility, flexibility and reduce stiffness. However, make sure to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before commencing exercises that you’re unsure about.


Set your goals and we'll show you how we can help you achieve them

Lose weight
Get started