Do you ever experience difficulty bending forward due to lower back pain? Have you noticed that you have been feeling stiffness and pain in your low back when you stand up after long periods of sitting?
You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the best exercises for lower back that include strengthening and stretching exercises.
The erector spinae, the muscles of the lower back, are responsible for maintaining the spine’s structure by holding it up. A strong low back helps prevent injuries and pain during motions like bending forward to pick up items.
Exercises That Can Strengthen and Help Ease Lower Back Pain
Wouldn’t it be great if you could lift your child or even a bag of groceries without as much effort?
Do you want to increase your lifting capacity?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you might benefit from workouts that help strengthen and improve the flexibility of your lower back.
The stronger your low back is, the better your posture, athletic performance, and mobility. You will be less likely to suffer from back pain.
Lower back exercises are exercises that strengthen and stretch out the back muscles.
These exercises can help prevent injury, reduce pain, and improve your posture. They usually involve stretching, lifting, and twisting your body in different ways.
Anatomy of Upper, Middle & Lower Back
The back consists of several layers of muscle, stacked like a sandwich. The muscles of the back subdivide into three categories.
- The upper back is made up of a large triangular-shaped muscle called the trapezius.
- The middle back consists of the latissimus dorsi.
- The lower back is made up of the erector spine muscles.
The lower back is made up of the erector spinae muscles that run alongside the entire length of the spinal column. In the lumbar region, the erector spinae split into three columns: the iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis.
These muscles are the pillars of strength in the lower back that stabilize the spine and extend the torso, arching the spine backward.
Lower Back Exercises For Strengthening Your Back And Improving Posture.
This workout routine includes best exercises for strengthening and building muscle in your upper and lower back, both for your superficial muscles (those closer to the skin) and your deep muscles (those closer to bone and internal organs).
This back exercises also strengthen the glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, obliques, Rectus abdominis.
Now, let’s get into the best lower exercises for strengthening your back and improving posture using various types of fitness equipment, as well as some bodyweight exercises that you can do at home.
Best Exercises for Low Back Strength
Below are 12 exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back. Add a few to your current bodyweight strength routine, or string them all together for a low-back workout.
Superman is one of the best exercises to strengthen your back muscles. If done regularly, the Superman exercise may help alleviate back pain that is related to weak back muscles.
In addition, to strengthen lower back muscles, it also works on your glutes and your hamstring muscles.
How To Do It
- Lay with your stomach flat on the ground. Extend your arms in front of you, with your palms facing down.
- Lift your head and raise your arms and your chest off the ground as far as possible.
- Bend your legs and lift your thighs off the ground, as much as possible. (Try to make a big “U” with your back.)
- At this point, you should feel your back muscles, your glutes and hamstrings tighten up.
- For your first few workouts, try holding for only 5 or 10 seconds, and then work your way up to 30 seconds over time.
- Do not hold your breath. Breathe regularly.
2. Hip Bridge
The hip bridge is a good starter move for butt, hamstring, and low back muscles. It is the best exercise to manage chronic lower back pain.
When you sit for most of the day, your glute muscles can become weaker and the hip flexors in the front of your thighs can become shorter, making them feel tight.
But when you practice glute bridges regularly you are targeting your glutes and your lower back muscles, those muscles that are meant to hold your body upright will be getting stronger.
How To Do It
- Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
- Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
- Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
- Squeeze your glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in to avoid overextending your back during the exercise.
- Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
- Don’t overextend your back during the exercises, this may cause lower back pain.
- To make it more challenging, hold a weight plate on your lap.
3. Good Morning Exercise
It is known as a good morning because of the movement in the erector spinae which resembles the rise out of bed to stretch.
When done with solid spinal alignment and perfect form, the good morning is one of the best exercises that can be a great move for improving your back health and alleviate your lower back pain.
To allow your lower back to get used to the good morning exercise, start with bodyweight or a stick and add more weight slowly.
How To Do It
- Stand holding a stick on the back of your shoulders, grasping the stick at each side.
- Keeping your knees slightly flexed and your back and neck neutral.
- Inhale as you flex your hips to lower your torso until it is close to, or fully, horizontal.
- Exhale as you raise your torso back up to the starting position by extending your hips.
- Keep your back and neck neutral throughout the exercise.
- It is recommended that the lifter avoid rounding (flexing), or rotation (twisting) at any point during the movement.
4. Dumbbell Deadlift
The dumbbell deadlift is the King of all exercises, and it is a powerful exercise designed to build an overall physique and help to strengthen the low back.
It is the best exercise for posterior chain muscle strengthening. This chain includes the erector spine, glutes, and hamstrings.
How To Do It
- Place a dumbbell in front of you. Grab the dumbbells in each of your hand.
- Remember to keep your back as straight as possible and contract your back and hamstrings.
- Raise the dumbbell from the ground using your hamstrings and glutes.
- Raise it to the point where your body is erect. Do not hyperextend your body as the weight shifts to the lumbar spine.
- Hold the dumbbell for a moment at the top of the lift and remember to the lockout.
- Now, lower the dumbbell slowly at a steady slow pace by bending at the hips first and then at the knees and let the weight touch the ground for a moment before you begin the next rep.
- Do not go through half of the exercise, complete the lift.
- If a deadlift is performed incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good. Keep the back straight at all costs.
- Avoid jerky movements and keep motion-controlled.
5. Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebell swing is a basic ballistic exercise used to train the posterior chain. If a kettlebell is not available, you may use a dumbbell instead.
It involves moving the bell in a pendulum motion from between the knees to anywhere between eye level to fully overhead.
You’ll use your lower back muscles to stabilize your upper body throughout the swing, and you’ll achieve a small concentric contraction at the top of the move.
How To Do It
- Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, with the kettlebell on the floor just behind you.
- Bend your knees to grab the kettlebell behind you. Make sure to tilt at the hips, pushing your butt backward.
- Keep your chest up and back straight. Slowly swing the kettlebell backward and up between your legs.
- As the kettlebell starts to swing forward, forcefully extend your hips and knees to swing the kettlebell up in front of you.
- At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes.
- Do not squat down as you swing the kettlebell. The motion should be in your hips.
- Do not use your arms to swing the kettlebell up. The movement should be created by the hip thrust.
6. Flat bench hyperextension
Flat Bench Hyperextension exercise directly hits the erector spinae muscles, building a strong back.
You can also make hyperextensions more difficult by holding a plate to your chest or behind your head.
How To Do It
- Lie face down on a flat bench with your torso extending off the end, and hook your heels under the bench to prevent yourself from falling forward.
- Place your hands on your chest (or behind your neck) and bend down through your waist.
- Return to the start position, but avoid extending beyond the body level.
- Do the desired number of reps and sets.
- Avoid hyperextension beyond the body level.
- Keep movement always under control, without letting gravity take you down faster.
7. Bird Dog Exercise
The bird dog is an exercise that looks elegant and is also very effective for training the abdominal muscles and lower back muscles.
Several other muscles are also addressed, including the glutes.
The bird dog is a real stability exercise that ensures a stable trunk. It owes its name to the position which alternates between sitting on hands and knees (dog) and stretching the arms and legs (bird).
How To Do It
- Get on your knees and place your hands on the floor in front of your body at shoulder width.
- Contract your abs and lift one hand and the opposite knee slightly off the floor. You are now balancing on the other hand and knee.
- Now extend your arm and leg all the way out. Try to form a straight plane from your hand to your foot.
- Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise with the other side.
- This exercise gets harder when you perform the exercise on your toes instead of your knees.
- Don’t raise your leg and arm higher than your back.
8. Lying Bent-Knee Twist
Lying Bent Knee twist is a bodyweight exercise that builds muscle and strength in your core.
This exercise can act as a stretch, but the main purpose is to stabilize your core and strengthen your obliques.
How To Do It
- Lie on back on the floor or mat with arms extended out to the sides to keep your body stable during the exercise.
- Raise and bent legs at a 90-degree angle, so thighs are vertical and lower legs are horizontal.
- Keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor, slowly lower your legs to one side until you feel a mild stretch in your lower back.
- Now, rotate your legs all the way to the right. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
- Maintain knee position throughout movement.
- Keep your core tight during the movement to activate your obliques against resistance.
9. Lying Straight Leg Raise
Lying leg raises are touted as the best core exercise. But your hip flexors actually reap some major benefits of this move. So don’t be surprised if your hips feel a bit of the burn during this one.
It can also help alleviate low back pain since it improves the overall strength and stabilization of your core.
It is often used in Physical Therapy to help patients improve the strength of their lower extremities.
You need no special equipment to do a straight leg raise, apart from space where you can lie on your back freely.
How To Do It
- Lie face up on the floor/bench with your entire body straight and your hands at your sides to stabilize your torso.
- Hold your legs a few inches off the floor.
- Raise your legs up toward the ceiling until they are just short of perpendicular to the floor.
- Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.
- Keep your lower back pressed against the bench or mat.
- Move slow and with control, making sure not to arch your back at any point in the move.
The front plank is a brilliant bodyweight exercise that helps you to develop the strength and stability of your core. Your muscles are exercised isometrically.
The most common plank is the forearm plank, which is held in a push-up like position, with the body’s weight borne on forearms, elbows, and toes.
The plank is more of a strength-building exercise than a cardio exercise, engaging a range of muscles can also help to boost your calorie burn.
How To Do It
- Start to get in a push-up position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of on your hands.
- Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- Brace your core by contracting your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut.
- Hold this position as directed.
- Do not let your lower back sag or your butt rise. Ensure your body is straight and rigid.
- Keep your glutes and core muscles contracted.
- Your neck should be in line with your body, not tilted up, which could strain the neck.
11. Side Plank
The side plank is one of the best exercises for strengthening the oblique muscles, which are not as often engaged during crunches and sit-ups.
If you’re new to planking, you should master the basic forearm plank before moving on to the side plank variation. If you find it hard to hold a side plank, that’s OK.
You can try performing the exercise from your knees instead of your feet while you’re building your strength.
How To Do It
- Lie on your left side on the floor, with your right foot on top of your left foot and your right arm resting on your side.
- Raise your body by placing your left forearm flat on the floor so that it’s perpendicular to your torso.
- Lift your torso until your left upper arm is straight underneath you, with your elbow bent 90 degrees and your forearm flat on the floor.
- In this position, only your left forearm making contact with the floor and your body forms a diagonal line that is at about a 20-degree angle to the floor.
- Keep your abs pulled in tight and hold this position for as long as you can, and then repeat on the left side.
- Keep your legs and body straight.
- Avoid letting your hips sag during this oblique exercises.
12. Dumbbell Side Bend
Dumbbell side bends are isolation exercises that target muscle groups on the side of your body—specifically the oblique muscles.
It is effective at targeting the internal and external obliques, strengthening the lateral flexion of your spine, improving spinal mobility, and helping to develop a strong and stable core.
It is a simple exercise that you can practice at home.
How To Do It
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell with a neutral grip in your right hand with your arm hanging at your side.
- Bend sideways at the waist to the left as low as possible, using your oblique muscles to pull your torso down.
- Hold for a second and return to the starting position.
- You can complete the number of reps you want and repeat on the other side.
- Perform this exercise slow and steadily to work the obliques.
- Always keep your back straight, eyes facing forwards, and bend at the torso only.
Strong Lower Back Workout
Here is an exercise routine that strengthens your back.
Choose any 3-4 exercises you want to do and do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of each.
You can either use a set of light weights or do each back exercise as a bodyweight exercise.
Remember, the goal of this exercise is to complete it with proper form, while still challenging your body.
If you have questions about a specific exercise or what would be best for you, consult a personal trainer or coach first.
If you already have an exercise routine, you could try adding these exercises to help strengthen your lower back.
STAY FIT, LIVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY LIFE
Always consult a doctor before beginning a new exercise program. For those experiencing persistent or strong pain in their backs, visit your healthcare provider or physical therapist before beginning a workout routine (even with a personal trainer).
If you experienced a traumatic injury such as a fall or accident, always seek medical help and further evaluation to rule out serious conditions.
If these exercises cause your back pain to increasing, stop and seek medical help. Only work within your physical limits. Doing too much, or too fast, can increase back pain and slow the healing process.
These exercises are highly recommended for anyone interested in strengthening back muscles, and to improve posture. When you have perfect posture, you feel command, confidence, and less stress on your back when you have perfect posture.
Low Back strengthening exercises are an excellent way to prevent recurring back pain.
Increased stability, decreased chances of getting injured and improved function can be achieved by stronger core muscles.
Start incorporating these simple exercises into your daily routine and you will reap the benefits for a long time.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health advice.
We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before choosing to consume any product or perform any exercise.
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