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Back exercises with dumbbells: build a stronger back to ease aches and pains

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Prevent back pain in just 10 minutes with this quick and effective workout, by Strong Women Training Club trainer Emma Obayuvana.

More than 35% of people have reported an increase in back pain since the start of the pandemic and working from home, according to the Institute for Employment Studies. You know why: a poor desk set up, jumping into a workout without a proper warm-up and general stress all work together to cause tension and tightness. The best way to reduce that pain is to build a strong body, says Emma Obayuvana, a trainer from the Strong Women Training Club.

“Exercising increases blood flow to the area you’re working, which stimulates the healing process and reduces stiffness that leads to pain,” she says. “Improving your strength and mobility ensures that your connective tendons and ligaments are working properly in order to reduce pain and prevent injury.” 

The best bit is you don’t need to go to a gym and lift huge barbells (although, you can if you want). This simple dumbbell and resistance band circuit is the ideal home workout that you can do mid-working day to unhunch or add to your routine to build strength that combats pain in the long-term, too. 

QUADRUPLED ROW

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Back workout: Strong Women ambassador Emma Obayuvana demonstrates quadrupled row in this quick and effective 10 minute workout
  1. Begin on all fours with your hands and knees on the ground.  
  2. With your hands wrapped around the dumbbells, keep your shoulders in line with your wrists and pulled back away from your ears.
  3. To row, inhale as you bend your right elbow to lift the dumbbell up towards your chest, keeping the dumbbell close to the sides of your body. You should be squeezing through your upper back, with your chin away from your chest and your core engaged.
  4. Exhale to lower the dumbbell back to the floor and repeat on your left arm. 
  5. If your wrists feel fatigued from holding on to the dumbbell, place your hands on the floor and pick up the weights just before you begin the row.

Do 10 reps

SUPERWOMAN BAND PULLS

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Back workout: Strong Women ambassador Emma Obayuvana demonstrates superwoman band pulls in this quick and effective 10 minute workout
  1. Lie on the floor on your front side. 
  2. Place a short loop resistance band around your wrists and lie on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you.
  3. Inhale as you squeeze your back to lift your arms off of the floor. 
  4. Bend your arms, pulling the elbows closer to you so that the band comes towards your chest.
  5. Keep your glutes engaged to support your lower back as you exhale, slowly returning to the starting position.  

Do 10 reps 

SUPERWOMAN UNILATERAL LIFTS

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Back workout: Strong Women ambassador Emma Obayuvana demonstrates unilateral lifts in this quick and effective 10 minute workout
  1. Lie on the floor on your front side. 
  2. Pull your shoulders down away from your ears.
  3. Inhale to squeeze your glutes as you lift your right arm and right leg towards the sky, keeping them both straight.
  4. Exhale to release the right arm and right leg back to the floor and repeat on your other side.

Do 10 reps

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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