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Warm-Up Exercises to Protect the Back

author image Judy Bruen
Judy Bruen is a private certified personal trainer and wellness coach. She holds dual master's degrees from Boston College in clinical social work and pastoral ministry. She currently works with individuals on fitness, health and lifestyle goals.
Warm-Up Exercises to Protect the Back
Warm-Up Exercises to Protect the Back Photo Credit Ray Robert Green/Demand Media


The American Council on Exercise, or ACE, recommends that exercisers engage in five to 10 minutes of warm-up activity before beginning a workout routine. Warming up the back muscles increases the flow of blood and nutrients, warms the tissues and prepares the muscles for more intense movement. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a warm-up may increase physical performance and prevent injury.

Side Bends

Warm-Up Exercises to Protect the Back
Photo Credit Ray Robert Green/Demand Media

When warming up the back muscles to prevent injury, it is important to do various movements that the back may do during exercise or normal daily activities. Side bends warm up the muscles that surround the spine and encourage range of motion. To do a side bend, stand up straight and hang your arms by your sides. Slowly, lower your right hand towards the floor, allowing the right side of your torso to bend with the movement. Hold when you can't lower any further, return to vertical and do the same with your left hand and the left side of your torso. Do 10 on each side to sufficiently warm up your back muscles. As your back and abdominal muscles warm up, you may be able to lower more during the exercise.

Trunk Rotations

Warm-Up Exercises to Protect the Back
Photo Credit Ray Robert Green/Demand Media

Trunk rotations prepare the back muscles for movement that requires spinal twisting or turning. Warming up the middle of the back before activities -- including golf, baseball and dancing -- that require trunk rotation protects the back from injury during exercise. To do trunk rotations, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Next, tighten your abdominal muscles and place your hands on your hips. Slowly twist to the right as far as you can -- use your core to do the twisting and avoid using your shoulders to create additional momentum. Return to the middle and twist to the left. Continue alternating until you complete 10 repetitions on each side.

Prone Trunk Extensions

Warm-Up Exercises to Protect the Back
Photo Credit Ray Robert Green/Demand Media

Prone trunk extensions warm up the lower back muscles. They build strength while preventing lower back injury during exercise. The Mayfield Clinic of Cincinnati recommends this exercise as an effective way to prevent back pain and injury. To do a prone trunk extension, lie prone on a mat, tuck your legs next to one another and tighten your butt muscles. Next, rest your arms on the mat next to your hips and turn your palms towards the ceiling. Slowly, lift your head and shoulders off of the mat, stopping when you feel tension in your lower back. Hold in this position for five seconds, lower and repeat until you complete 10 repetitions.

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