This article first appeared in Today's Dallas Woman, July 1997

Exercises for a Stronger Back

Exercise One The Tortoise: Lie on your back and lift your knees toward your chest. Grasp your lower legs beneath your knees. Lengthen your neck and look straight up. Hold 15 seconds and repeat several times.
Exercise Two Knee Circles: Lie on your back. Bend your knees and lift them up until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Circle your knees to the right six times, keeping the base of your spine against the floor. Gradually make the circles smaller. Reverse direction for six more circles, slowly making the circles larger.
Exercise Three Back Rotation: Lie on your back and bend your knees. Roll both knees to one side. Hold your arms outward and gently push your knees towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Exercise Four Elbow Press: Lie on your stomach with your legs extended. Press your forearms and the palms of your hands onto the floor. Lift your upper body while your stomach and pelvis remain on the floor. Hold for 20 seconds, then slowly lower back to the floor. Repeat.
Exercise Five The Rabbit: While sitting on your knees, bend forward and put the top of your head on the floor as close as possible to your knees. Reach back and grab the soles of your feet. Slowly lift your buttocks in the air while straightening your arms. This stretches the upper shoulders.
Exercise Six Cat Curl: Start on your hands and knees. Place your palms on the floor and look straight ahead. First, arch your back like a cat, dropping your chin toward your chest. Then lift your head and flatten your back. Do this exercise slowly, then repeat.
Exercise Seven Pelvic Lift: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Roll your pelvis upward and lift your hips while pressing the small of your back to the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat several times.
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