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11 Erector Spinae Muscles Exercises That’ll Improve Your Posture

HPRC’s Taylor Adkins, PT, DPT, recently spoke with Bustle on 11 exercises for the erector spinae muscles that will help better posture, read more below!


The erector spinae muscles that run down the spine are important for posture and everyday movements like twisting or bending, says trainer Katie Mack. Doing erector spine muscles exercises can help with back pain and improve our power during exercise. Here are some to try.

Seated Dumbbell Good Mornings
Mack recommends this move to target the erector spinae.
– Sit on the edge of a bench.
– Hold a pair of dumbbells between thighs.
– Lean forward.
– Lower dumbbells to floor.
– Maintain a flat back, raise back up.
– Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Standing Barbell Good Mornings
Mack also suggests this standing variation.
– Feet shoulder-width apart.
– Place barbell across shoulders, wide grip.
– Send butt back, lean forward.
– Let chest drop parallel to floor.
– Spine straight, rise back up.
– Do 3-4 sets of 8-10

45 Degree Back Extensions
Try this one from Mack on the back extension machine at the gym.
– Legs straight, pad at hip bones.
– Hinge body forward.
– Squeeze glutes, press hips into pad.
– Bring torso back up.
– Add weight by holding a dumbbell at chest.
– Do 3-4 sets of 10-12.

Bent-Over Row
Mack says you can use a barbell if you prefer.
– Feet shoulder-width apart.
– Hinge hips back.
– Once chest is parallel to floor, grab dumbbells.
– Pull weights into chest/armpits, elbows
– Fully extend arms, let shoulder blades round.
– Repeat 3-4 sets of 8-10.

From Mack:
– Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart, barbell over shoe laces.
– Push butt back, keep chest up.
– Grab weight, pull chest up, push into floor.
– Push hips forward, lift weight.
– To lower, keep chest up, sit hips back
– Repeat for 4-10 sets of 2-6 reps.

Back Squat
Dr. Dave Candy, PT says this exercise works the stabilizing muscles in the back.
– Place barbell across shoulders.
-Tense abs.
– Squat down, push hips back.
– Lean torso forward.
– Keep weight in heels.
– Raise up.
– Do 6 reps, repeat 4x.

Physical therapist Taylor Adkins, PT, DPT, says planks are a great way to incorporate the core muscles, which include the erector spinae.
– Pace hands or elbows on mat.
– Step feet back, lift body.
– Hold body in a straight line for 15 to 20 seconds.
– Repeat 3 to 4 times.

You can reach the muscles of the erector spinae – the iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis – with this move, says trainer Michelle Razavi.
– Get into tabletop pose.
– Lower stomach, look up.
– Reverse by lowering head, arching back to sky.
– Repeat 5 to 20x.

Bird Dog
Razavi says better posture can boost your energy levels and mood.
– Place hands under shoulders, knees under hips.
– Extend your right arm and left leg.
– Engage your core to stay steady.
– Lower limbs, switch sides.
– Repeat 10x per side.

Jefferson Curls
Fitness pro Gini Grimsley likes this stretchy exercise.
– Stand on a workout box.
– Hold hands out in front of you like a diver.
– Starting with head, roll forward.
– Drop head until you can’t go further.
– Slowly roll back up, squeeze glute muscles.
– Do 5 reps.

This is one of the best erector spinae exercises, says Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, DPT.
– Lie on your stomach.
– Lift chest off the ground.
– Reach arms forward, or push up off hands.
– Lift legs for a challenge.
– Engage back muscles, hold 5 seconds.
– Lower down.
– Repeat 10x.


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