Protect Your Back with These 4 Moves

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One of the biggest mistakes new weightlifters make is only doing exercises they like — and that almost always means their hamstrings, glutes, and lower back get neglected. This rookie training mistake could lead to a host of problems down the road, including muscle imbalances and, as a result, back pain. But there's good news: It doesn't take too much work to get back on track toward developing a strong and stable backside.

Try this program twice a week on non-consecutive days (Mondays and Thursdays work great) for the next four weeks. Here's a follow-along tutorial to get a sense of how it should look:

Before You Begin

Start with a core-focused dynamic warm-up to raise body temperature, lubricate joints, and mentally prepare you for a robust workout. You’ll also fire up the nerve impulses shuttling information between brain and muscles, or “priming the nervous system." This situation, similar to turning on a computer, helps you recruit more muscle fibers so you’ll be faster, stronger, and more focused during the session.

Perform these four core-focused moves as a back-to-back circuit for two minutes per exercise:

The Workout

Complete these squat and deadlift variations, plus a few unconventional exercises, in a paired style — that’s “A” followed immediately by “B,” repeating until all sets for the pair are complete. Rest 45 seconds between exercise pairs.

1A. Trap-Bar Deadlift: 3 sets, 6 reps

1B.  Glute-Ham Raise: 3 sets, 10 reps

2A. Barbell Split Squat: 2 sets, 10 reps per leg

2B. Single-Leg Box Squat: 2 sets, 10 reps per leg

3A. Barbell Snatch-Grip Shrug: 3 sets, 10 reps

3B. Dumbbell Suitcase Row: 3 sets, 10 reps