Zenith Performance Physical Therapy


Zenith’s Top Back-Strengthening Exercises: A Few of Our Favorites! (thus far)

January 29, 2024

Back pain is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. If you’re reading this now, chances are you’re going to be handling some back pain at some point in your life, and that’s okay! Here are some crucial details about back pain, and Zenith’s current go-to choices of loading to get our patients out doing what they love.

  • Understanding the Importance of a Strong Back: The back is a complex structure comprising muscles, ligaments, the intervertebral discs, and the spine itself. Regular heavy loading creates positive changes in all of these structures, contrary to the old myth about wear and tear or outdated concepts like degenerative disc disease. By engaging in targeted back-strengthening exercises, individuals can build a robust foundation that contributes to overall spinal health.
  • Boosting Performance: Athletes of all sports, whether amateur or professional, can benefit significantly from a strong back regularly challenged in different positions. People who incorporate heavy major compound movements, like squats and deadlifts, AKA superb back strengthening exercises, also demonstrate a decreased risk for further injury.
  • Stronger People Are Harder to Kill and More Useful In General” – Mark Rippetoe In our experience at Zenith, patients with more resilient backs will bounce back significantly faster from potential flare-ups down the road compared to folks who chronically avoid exposing their backs to loads and positions that their lives require of them.

Our Current Lineup of Go-To Back Exercises:

1. Deadlifts: Nothing beats a heavy deadlift, and boy is it an excellent way to load up the posterior chain while feeling epic. Click below to see Zenith’s very own Dr. Hayden Almeida running down the points of the deadlift!


2. Reverse Hypers: An excellent choice for loading the back plus getting a distraction to the whole area that leaves you feeling primed and ready to go crush your workout. Watch Louie Simmons, the creator of the reverse hyper and the man behind Westside Barbell, explain it below:

3. Bent Over Rows: Want a rock-solid back and beefed-up= lats? Then try out the barbell row, which will help build up confidence in that hinged position so many people start hesitantly in. Play around with dumbbells, kettlebells, and bands as well. Below is Dr. Stacie Barber of The Physio Fix demonstrating the row!

4. Back Extensions: As the older sibling of the reverse hyper, most gym goers have seen or tried busting a few of these out, and for good reason. Build up tons of endurance with high-volume sets or load up heavy with weights (as form allows) to get some carryover to your deadlifts and squats!

5. Jefferson Curls: There are tons of variations of the Jefferson curl, and I especially love giving people a large med ball to roll down their chest to their lap or further before reversing back to standing. This is an awesome combo of strengthening and a deep stretch into that forward flexed position!


The benefits of back strengthening extend beyond just relief from back pain; they encompass improved sports performance and overall well-being. Whether you’re an office worker seeking relief from prolonged sitting and not enough time under the barbell, or an athlete aiming for peak performance, incorporating some of these exercises into your fitness routine can be a game-changer.

Do you find yourself wanting more individualized programming for these movements, and are interested in a well-rounded and in-depth approach to addressing your pain and meeting your performance goals? Call or text us at 562-502-1767 to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy and come in for an evaluation!

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