If you suffer from lower back pain, you’re not alone – nearly 80% of adults experience low-back pain at some point in their lives.
Some of the most common causes for low back pain include: pulling a muscle in the low back, poor posture, improper lifting technique and excessive sitting.
If you’re looking to reduce your low back pain you’ll need to strengthen your low (lumbar) back and core muscles.
I recommend that you focus on strengthening the smaller, deep muscles rather than the big muscles only (which most people only do)… These smaller muscles will help stabilize your spine and pelvis, which in turn will reduce low back pain and stabilize your spine.
Some of the muscles that are essential to strengthen include:
Transverse abdominis – Deep core muscle
Gluteus maximus and medius
Pelvic floor muscles
The following exercises will address these muscles…
6 Exercises To Strengthen Your Lower Back And Core
1. Bird Dog (Alternate both sides)
This is another great exercise to improve core strength and lumbar back muscles.
How to do it:
– Begin on your hands and knees with your hands positioned under your shoulders and knees positioned under your hips.
– Raise your left arm and reach it forwards until it is aligned with your torso; at the same time, kick your right leg backwards until is it aligned with your torso.
– Hold this position for 2-3 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.
– Repeat with your right arm and left leg.
– Alternate sides for 10 repetitions.
** Ensure that your head, neck, and back maintain a neutral alignment to minimize stress on your neck.
2. Glute Bridge
This exercise helps to strengthen both your core, hamstring and gluteal muscles.
How to do it:
Begin lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet positioned flat on the floor with your arms positioned beside your torso.
– Use your heels to push into the floor while you lift your pelvis off the floor until your upper body and thighs are positioned in a straight line.
– Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and return slowly to the starting position.
– Aim for 10 repetitions.
**Ensure that your gluteals and abdominal muscles are tightened during the movement to maintain proper bridge form.
3. Prone Leg Raises
The prone leg raises exercise engages the butt muscles and low back muscles.
How to perform it:
– Lay face down with your palms on the floor under your forehead.
– Squeeze your glutes and straighten one leg, then lift it a few inches off the ground.
– Hold the leg up for 3 seconds (isometrically) before bringing it down.
– Lower your leg to the floor with your knee remaining straight.
– Switch Legs
– Do 15 reps each side, for 2-3 sets.
This exercise is ideal for strengthening both your deep core and gluteul muscles.
How to do it:
Begin lying on your stomach with your forearms against the mat.
– Engage your core and lift your body so that you are resting on your forearms and toes.
– Hold the plank position for 30-60 seconds.
– Aim for 2 to 5 repetitions of this exercise.
– When you’re ready, increase the intensity by increasing the time you hold the plank in 10 second increments.
** Ensure to keep your back straight throughout the entire exercise.
5. Side Plank
The side plank is perfect for strengthening the sides of your core muscles and low back.
How to do it:
Begin by positioning your body sideways.
– Place one elbow in a 90 degree angle and stack your feet and legs together with one side of your hips and legs touching the floor.
– Now brace your core and butt muscles and lift your hips off the floor.
– Support your weight on your elbow and feet.
– Try to keep your whole body aligned from top to bottom.
– Hold the lifted position for 30 sec to 1 minute.
– Now do the side plank on the other side.
– Repeat 3 times on each side.
** Ensure to keep your back at a neutral position throughout the entire exercise.
6. Dead Bug (Alternate both sides)
This exercise helps to increase deep core strength, and it also helps to improve hip and trunk stability.
How to do it:
– Begin lying on your back with your arm extended towards the ceiling.
– Bring your hips, knees, and feet to 90 degrees.
– Exhale to bring your ribcage down and try to flatten your back onto the floor by rotating your pelvis upwards and squeezing your gluteal muscles (this is the starting position for this exercise that you need to hold throughout the movement).
– Start the exercise by extending your left leg, straightening at the knee and hip and bringing the leg down to just above the floor (don’t let your lower back arch); at the same time, lower your right arm above your head to just above the floor.
– Keep your abdominal and gluteal muscles tightened and return your left leg and right arm to the starting position.
– Repeat with your right leg and left arm.
– Alternate sides for 20-30 repetitions.
Doing these exercises will help strengthen your core and low back muscles – which in turn will reduce the likelihood of you injuring your back.
Any questions? Leave a comment below
Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM-CES), Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT), Professional Dancer
As a long time back sufferer Leon found unique methods to alleviate his pain using natural methods including self massage, exercise/stretching and postural habits. He founded Backintelligence.com to empower others to fix their postures and ease their back pain from home.