#BaptistHealthy In Motion: Exercises for Back Pain Prevention

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October 30, 2019

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This post is available in: Spanish

Good posture is key to preventing chronic back pain and injuries. The “Big Three” exercises are meant to increase endurance of the muscles around your spine that support good posture.

“They are low-intensity, which means that they are easy and safe for most people,” says Chantis Mantilla, Ph.D., community health manager at Baptist Health South Florida. “The goal of the ‘Big Three’ is not necessarily to gain strength, but to build endurance and control of your spine.”


  • Try adding these 3 exercises to your weekly workout or even your morning routine.
  • It is recommended you perform 2-3 rounds (sets) for each of the Big Three exercises.


  • The goal of curl-ups is to train your abs without moving your upper or lower spine.
  • Try to keep your neck still and gaze upwards, while you lift your head up.
  • Avoid tucking your chin into your chest, or try not to let your head fall back.
  • Hold at the top for 7-10 seconds, then lower and repeat 3-5 times each set.


  • Neck still
  • Gaze upwards
  • Don’t tuck chin


  • Kneel with knees hip-width apart and your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
  • Engage your abdominals: Point one arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg behind you.
  • Goal is to form one straight line from your hand to your foot, while keeping hips squared to the ground.
  • Hold for a few seconds then return your hands and knees to the starting position.
  • Try to complete 5-10 repetitions on each side, 10 repetitions total.
  • Add additional sets of 10 exercises for a maximum of three sets of 10.


  • Try to keep your back flat
  • Activate your back muscles by creating a engaged hand, finger spread wide, while raising your arm.

Side-bridge/side planks:

Abdominal endurance exercise strengthens muscles on the side of your torso.

  • Lay on your side with your weight on your elbow.  An option is to straighten or bend the knees.
  • Straighten legs, stack feet.
  • Lift your pelvis off the floor and come into a side elbow plank.
  • Lift your hips up while pulling, shoulders down and back, away from your ears.
  • Hold for a few seconds then lower your pelvis back to the floor slowly and with control to complete one rep.
  • Complete 10-15 repetitions on each side.


  • Try to maintain a straight line from your head down to your feet.
  • Make sure that your hips are in line with the rest of your body.

For additional healthy lifestyle tips and information on free exercise and wellness classes, please check out our Community Health page at baptisthealth.net/wellness.

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