Exercises to Strengthen the Multifidus Muscles of the Spine

The multifidus muscles run the length of the spine, and they are an important component of spine stability and posture. They parallel another muscle group known as the erector spinae, and if these muscles are weak, you can subject yourself to back pain. Utilize the weight of your body and a couple of fitness tools to strengthen these muscles.

Back Hyperextension Machine

The back hyperextension machine is often called a Roman chair. It has an upper padded support, lower padded support and steel plate to place your feet on. To execute a hyperextension exercise, place your feet on the plate, the back of your legs against the lower support and your hips against the upper support. After placing your hands on the sides of your head, fold your body forward at the hips to lower your torso. Move back up in a steady motion and repeat. You can do a similar exercise with a seated back extension machine. Sit on the seat, rest the top of your back against the padded support and lean back to move it.


This is a body-weight exercise executed from a face-down position on the floor. The important thing with this exercise is to keep your torso down on the floor at all times. After moving your legs about hips-width apart behind you, raise your left arm and right leg about 6 inches off the floor. Hold for five to 10 seconds, slowly lower and repeat with your opposite side. Alternate back and forth for a set of repetitions. You also activate your hamstrings and glutes with this exercise.

Opposite Arm and Leg Raise

Opposite arm and leg raises are similar to Supermans, but they are executed from an all-fours position. Before you start the exercise, make sure your hands are under your shoulders and knees are under your hips. Steadily raise your left arm straight in front of your body, and extend your right leg straight behind you. After holding for a full second, lower your arm and leg and repeat on your other side. Alternate back and forth in a steady and controlled motion. You also work your abdominals in this exercise.

Cat and Cow

The cat and cow is a combination of two yoga poses performed from an all-fours position. Keeping your arms and legs still, let your belly droop as you look forward and take a deep breath. In a steady motion, exhale as you arch your back in the air and look downward. Alternate up and down in a steady motion with each breath you take. Every time you arch your back and lower it down, hold for a full second.

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