JessicaSmithTV: 20-Minute Total Body Strength [Back Friendly] Workout

It’s been a rough week. On Saturday morning my back went out and I’ve been in pain ever since. I’ve been reduced to yoga for back pain workouts. I found 4 workouts by Jessica Smith for people with back pain and every morning for the past few days I have attempted this one but could not get through the warm up. However, I slept better last night than I have all week and when I got out of bed this morning, I was able to stand up straight and stretch my arms overhead. My back still has pain but it is so much better than it has been the past 5 days. So I tried this workout again this morning and I was able to do it without issues!

20 Minute Total Body Strength Workout is a total body strength workout. The key to protecting your back in this workout is using lighter than normal dumbbells and all of the standing exercises are done fully upright–no bent over rows, or bent over tricep kickbacks, etc. This was no Caroline Girvan level workout but I still got some solid strength work that I actually felt, even with lighter dumbbells. It felt really, really good to be doing something this morning. Jessica created this workout in 2019. So I was both sad and pleased to see sweet Peanut passed out on the floor with her bone. Peanut has left us. I always enjoyed her presence in Jessica’s YouTube workouts. She lifted my spirits again this morning.

Jessica has several workouts for back pain. Her Yoga for Back Pain, which I did yesterday, this workout and 3 others that I also did this morning: Good Resistance Training Exercises for Bad Backs, 10 Minute Abs Workout for Bad Backs, and The Best Cardio Exercises for Losing Weight with a Bad Back. All together I got a 48 minute workout this morning. Again, this is not the intensity I am accustomed to, but my back is still hurting so this line up was actually perfect for me this morning. It felt like my body finally got some good exercise and I did not re-injure myself. Jessica’s Yoga for Back Pain is more appropriate for when you’re in enough pain that you are unable to do workouts like this.

20 Minute Total Body Strength Workout is 21:12 minutes; 3 minute warm up and one minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and a fitness mat (Jessica suggests 2-15 pounds; she is using 7 pound dumbbells). I used 8 pound dumbbells for all of the standing exercises and 20 pound dumbbells for all of the mat based exercises.

  1. One partial close leg squat + one side leg lift, alternate sides when doing leg lift; raise arms to shoulder level, palms facing floor and do an upper back row in time with leg lifts, pull elbows behind you then extend arms in front of you (no DBs)
  2. Stand with legs wide, arms raised to shoulder level in goal post, do a scarecrow, keeping arms in goalpost position, but rotating arms down into an inverted goalpost so palms face behind you then rotating them back up to upright goalpost with palms facing in front of you (no DBs)
  3. Stand with legs wide and toes turned out, arms still in goalpost, lower into a wide plie squat and when you raise out of plie squat, reach arms overhead (no DBs)
  4. Stationary/static body weight lunges
  5. Repeat the wide plie squats from #3 but this time arms do bicep curls (no DBs)
  6. Repeat #4 on other side of body
  7. (grab DBs) Stand with legs wide and toes turned out, DBs are held at shoulder level with elbows in front of you and palms facing each other, lower into a wide plie squat and as you rise push DBs overhead, when you lower the DBs, open arms out to sides so arms are in goalpost/cactus, push DBs overhead again then rotate the DBs so palms are facing each other and lower into a wide squat again, return to DBs to shoulder level
  8. Stationary/static lunges w/ bicep curls
  9. Repeat #7
  10. Repeat #8 on other side of body
  11. Stand in split stance and do a single arm overhead press
  12. Still in split stance, using other arm from #11, push DB straight in front of you (palm faces body) then pull DB back, arm remains close to side
  13. Overhead tricep extension/French press holding both DBs together in both hands
  14. Repeat 11 & 12 on other side of body
  15. Repeat #13
  16. Get on hands and knees w/ a DB in each hand, do a single arm row, rotating DB as you raise it so that palm faces forward at top of row then rotate back to starting position when lowering the DB
  17. Lay on back and do a chest press
  18. Set DBs aside, still on back with knees bent and feet close to glutes, raise and lower hips in bridge; keep hips raised at top of bridge and pulse hips upward
  19. Repeat #16 on other arm
  20. Repeat #17 & 18

For more info on JessicaSmithTV and other (free) streaming workouts I’ve sampled and reviewed, check out my Streaming page.


3 thoughts on “JessicaSmithTV: 20-Minute Total Body Strength [Back Friendly] Workout

  1. I am SO glad your back is on the mend!! 😁😁😁

    The past few days have been a mishmash of different workouts. I’ve done Caroline’s Day 34 full body pyramid and Day 39 full body strength and cardio. Both were excellent strength workouts but the second was tougher because it was much more metabolic. In terms of the 100 rep challenge, I figured it was just a matter of time before renegade rows would come up. Sure enough, I rolled snake eyes on Day 34. That made for a pretty tough ending because I struggle with them on a good day. That said, I persevered and it ended up well. ☺️

    I tacked on one of Caroline’s isometric workouts each day to round things out.

    When do you think you’ll be back to rebounding?


    1. I don’t know. I am actually setting up a playlist for tomorrow morning that will have several different options depending on how my back is doing. One is Naomi Joy’s newest cardio + strength rebounder workout. But I will not do that unless I wake with my back feeling 100 percent normal. I will also have a gentle rebounder workout followed by one of Sara Beth’s low back yogas. I will also have something more intermediate and non-rebounder–but I don’t know what yet. I’ll figure it out today.


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