“It’s so important because [back strength] is key for having good posture, mobility, and having the ability to sit, stand, and move properly throughout the day,” personal trainer and Love Sweat Fitness founder Katie Dunlop, CPT, CSN, previously told Well+Good.
In an age when we spend so much time in front of our computers and phones, where the tendency to roll our shoulders and slouch is heightened, back strength is crucial. In particular, “the upper back acts as a support or foundation to our shoulder girdle, head, and neck,” Lee Jimenez of YogaSix GO, previously told Well+Good. So you can practice rolling your shoulders back all you want, but if you don’t have the muscular endurance to keep them that way, practicing good posture will be an uphill battle.
What’s more: “Regularly strengthening our upper back is a key preventative method against lower back pain,” Jimenez says. This is crucial as your lower back carries and supports the load of your upper body. “Because it’s at the base of the spinal column, it’s really the foundation to the body’s support system,” Dunlop says.
So if you want to strengthen and protect your body from injury from top to bottom, make time to strengthen your back. Here are videos that will help you stand a little taller in 20 minutes or less.
9-minute resistance band back workout
Strengthen and support your entire posterior chain (backside of your body) in this workout, during which you can replicate the work you’d do with gym equipment—think rows, lat pulls, and more—with just the assistance of a resistance band.
17-minute lower back stretching and strengthening Pilates session
Strength and mobility go together like peanut butter and jelly, so it only makes sense that this short workout combines the two into one. You’ll get both the release of a good stretch and the satisfaction of a hard workout in under 20 minutes.
8-minute core and back workout
Many of your back muscles are technically part of your core, too, since it’s really your entire trunk that wraps around your spinal column. This workout integrates back and core work into a seamless whole.
7-minute kettlebell back and arms workout
So many exercises that you’d think are just working the arms are utilizing the back as well, when done correctly—like this one, which treats the upper body as a unit that works together for some serious arm, shoulder, and back strengthening.
A 20-Minute shoulder and upper back release flow
After all that back work, don’t forget to stretch! Strengthen, lengthen, and release with this yoga flow for back strength and mobility.