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Resistance band workout for back strengthening.

Resistance band workout for back strengthening.

Dr. Michael Derry, DPT, PT, OCS Jacksonville, Florida
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I enjoy creating home resistance band exercises for the back. It’s so much fun findings ways to strengthen your back while not doing damage or makings things worse. We want to make our back stronger without having more pain. Honestly, I see many client's pain decrease as they get stronger! 

It is important that relieving your lower back pain be convenient and effective.

Most commonly, I develop ways to strengthen and improve pain for those with lower back pain while ensuring they are easy to complete. Plenty of evidence has shown that strengthening is important for back pain and there can be some variability of how you strengthen. Some enjoy lifting weights whereas others may enjoy yoga. Something is better nothing, that is a guarantee.  

Treating back pain requires strengthening. It has been proven many times over. How we do it can vary, but I really enjoy using bands because they are easy, affordable, and you can use them virtually anywhere! Check out this resistance band workout of your back I put together from years of treating back pain.

Can resistance bands help with back pain?

Yes, resistance bands can help with back pain. They allow you to strengthen the lumbopelvic complex. The muscles that attach and support the lower back and hips. This is what the evidence shows and what I have seen work many times! In fact, this is my approach with nearly every back pain client. It is worth noting that before I move forward with specific treatments I always make sure I look at the hips and lower back.

Check out this FREE webinar to help you learn more about the relationship between your hips and lower back! 

Resistance bands are not only for rehabilitation. I use them with my older adults and athletes. Back pain can be tricky, but resistance bands allow you to have constant and consistent resistance that allows you to remain safe. What better way to strengthen??

3 top reasons resistance bands are great for lower back pain.

  1. Bands don’t take up a lot of room. Resistance bands are easy to pack and store. They last for years and can be used for many body parts.
  2. They provide consistent and constant resistance. Since they stretch, they can provide great resistance through a small motion or a large movement.
  3. They are cheap! They are low cost and provide great value because you can use them for a long time.

Using resistance bands for lower back pain does work. To improve lower back pain, you must improve hip strength. The glutes and many other muscles surround and attach near the spine. You can work these muscles with resistance bands. I tell my clients that we are strengthening the lumbopelvic complex and the stronger your hips the stronger your back. I typically start with a good deal of learning your body and lower back. Here is what I say when people ask, "What is causing my lower back pain?" We learn how to stretch it and how to tell the difference between hip and lower back pain. This is followed with mobility and strengthening work. This builds our foundation, then you can start moving into the dedicated lower back workout to strengthen to improve how you feel. I put together a lower back home workout in the past but this one is focused on using bands to give you that little extra boost.

Resistance bands aren’t limited to helping lower back pain either. They can improve strength in many areas of your body. Thus why I recommend them for nearly everyone.


Resistance band workout for your back.

Below are the listed resistance band exercises for your back. We will cover them in detail as well. All of the muscles either attach near or on the spine.


  1. Shoulder extension. (Focuses on your latissimus or lats) 2-3 sets of 12.
  2. Horizontal abduction. (Focus on shoulder and upper back) 2-3 sets of 12.
  3. Standing row. (Mid trapezius and rhomboids) 2-3 sets of 12.
  4. Pallof Press. (Abdominals and obliques) x20 each side with 2 sec hold.
  5. Side steps. Band around your ankles. Focuses on glutes, 2 sets of 20 steps.
  6. Monster walks with band around your knees. Focuses on glutes. 2 sets of 20 (or until you feel a good burn!).

Before you start, you want to make sure you are standing with the band anchored to a sturdy surface. I often use a door or a door handle! You want to use the longer band, often tubes, and make sure you grasp each end tightly. You will also need a circular band for the lower body and glute exercises.

1. Shoulder extension (latissimus and triceps) 2-3 sets of 12.

Female upper back strengthening exercise standing with band
Upper back strengthening exercise standing with resistance band

Grasp one band in each hand. Stand tall and pull your hands straight down to your side. The arms stay straight the entire time. You may feel this in the back of your arms or your back.

2. Horizontal abduction (shoulder and upper back) 2-3 sets of 12.

Standing shoulder and upper back strengthening with resistance band

Keep your arms straight and your shoulders level. You want to pull until the band hits your chest. This also focuses on the back of the arms and upper back. This exercise is great for improving posture as well.

3. Standing row (Middle trapezius and rhomboids) 2-3 sets of 12.

Standing resistance band exercise for upper and middle back
Standing resistance band exercise for middle and upper back

Keep you elbows bent when you pull back. The resistance band should be achoredat chest level or above. Your arms will be bent and bring them to your side. You are pinching your shoulder blades together. Don’t go too far back to protect your shoulder. This exercise great way to strengthen your upper back.

4. Pallof Press. (Abdominals and obliques) x20 each side with 2 sec hold.

Standing core strengthening with band
Standing core and back strengthening with band.
Standing core and lower back strengthening with band arms extended
Standing core and lower back strengthening with band arms extended.

Strengthen your arms and your abdominals will resist the rotation. You will really feel this in your core and maybe into her your lower back. This works all of your abdominals. Keep your arms straight and you want to be in a sport ready position when you extend your arms. Knees slightly bent and get ready to work! Step further to the side to make it harder!

5. Side steps. Band around your knees. Focuses on glutes, 2 sets of 20 steps. Or until you feel a good burn your hips! 

hip strengthening for lower back pain in standing and resistance band
Band around knees strengthening exercise for hip and lower back strength

I say start with 20 steps but do as many as needed to get a good burn in your glutes. Stay in a sport ready position and then step to the left for 20 repetitions and right for 20. Stay low and make sure you keep tension on the resistance band as you step.

6. Monster walks with band around your knees. Focuses on glutes. 2 sets of 20.

Standing hip and lower back strengthening with band around knees
Band around knees and stepping forward and back to strengthen hips and lower back

The only difference between this and side steps is that you are walking forwards and back. This works things a bit differently. Make sure you step to the other foot when stepping forward and back. Step out and to the right then the left foot will come towards the right foot. Then you will step out and towards the left with the right foot following.

In summary,

Resistance band exercises are great for back pain. They are safe, effective, and provide consistent resistance. Bands are also great for many areas of your body, not just your back. I developed this program to assist in strengthening your entire lower back without heavy equipment and you can do it all while standing. I have used these for a long time and have seen many people improve.

If you want to know more about improving hip and lower back pain check out this free webinar. It covers differences between hip and back pain as well as common treatments for both as well as best evidence for recovery! 

Revision Health Services now offers telehealth for Florida residents as well as massage and physical therapy locally in, Nocatee, Ponte Vedra, and St. Johns, Florida. To find out if our services could be the best fit for you, reach out and let's chat!

Until next time, stay healthy, keep moving, and take care of yourself.

Dr. Michael Derry is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and board certified in orthopedics. He is very passionate about treating lower back pain and helping people build their resiliency. He has spent time assisting at universities as well as managing large clinics before starting his own practice in Jacksonville, FL.

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