If you experience issues that may be related to weak back muscles please be sure to see your doctor before self-treating the problem. Back pain can be exasperated by sitting in a chair for a long periods of time during the day, and a few lower back exercises can help alleviate the problem. You may be surprised at how little and how quickly the right movements can help. But again, please be sure to see your doctor first. You want to be sure the problem is simply weak muscles due to lack of use and not an issue best solved with a different treatment.
So, you think you may need to exercise your lower back more? You’re not alone. A reader wrote and asked for exercises for lower back pain so we’ve expanded our response a bit here. Now, we’d rather be proactive about keeping your back healthy, but we know that most of us wait until we have discomfort until we do something about it.
Don’t wait until you are in Pain for Motivation to Exercise
Aches and pains have a funny way of motivating us to exercise – we know it all too well. So, before we get started, here’s a word of caution. Dealing with your back is serious so don’t push yourself. We do not believe in the premise of “no pain, no gain”. Pain is the body’s way of telling us there is something wrong. And pushing past back pain, or ignoring it can be very harmful to your overall health.
We are sharing exercises that work for us to strength our lower back, but they are not intended to replace the advice of a doctor or physical therapist.
Caution – if you have back pain, see a doctor before starting any exercises program. If you experience pain that lasts more than 15 minutes you should stop exercising and contact your doctor.
If you are exercising due to back pain, avoid these exercises until you strengthen your lower back: Toe Touches, Sit-ups , and Leg Lifts.
Here are some exercises to try, but you can find more on our Lower Back Exercise page. As always, you can print them to bring to the gym, or show your doctor and ask him/her if they are OK for you to try. Let us know if you’d like to see more, we’re always adding new exercises and would love to hear how we can help.
Try these Back Exercises…
- Lie face up with your hands behind your neck.
- Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your stomach muscles.
- Breathing out, raise your shoulders off the floor.
- Repeat 8 – 12 times.
Note: use caution when doing this exercise. Do not do too many too quickly and do not pull your head forward.
How to do it: Begin by lying face up on the floor with knees bent. The movement begins by curling the shoulders towards the pelvis. Your hands can be behind your head, beside the neck or crossed over the chest.
Tip: Do not use your arms – you can injure yourself by pushing against your head or neck with your hands.
Note: Unlike the sit-up, when doing crunches, your feet, tailbone and lower back stay on the floor. Proper form prevents excessive stress on your low back. It is said by scientific literature to eliminate any involvement by the hips, and makes the crunch an effective isolation exercise for the abdominals.
Lie on a declined bench or hold a weight under your chin, chest or behind your head. Crunch exercises may also be performed on an exercise ball.
Back Exercises – Bird Dog
- Kneel on the floor and face down (prone) with your hands under shoulder with extended elbows.
- Point your fingers forward with your palms resting on the floor.
- Keeping your spine straight without arching up or down and extend your left leg to hip height and right arm to shoulder level. Your shoulder should be parallel to the floor.
- Keep your abdominal muscles tucked in.
- Look straight ahead so that your neck can maintain the alignment to the rest of the body.
- Hold this position for 4 seconds then come back to the starting position.
- Repeat on each side 10 times.
Tip: Don’t stop breathing, keep your extended arm and leg straight – don’t arch up or down.
What it does: A total body exercise that targets the lower back and to a lesser degree the traps, shoulders, abs, glutes and hamstrings.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Using your abs, lift your hips and buttocks off the floor.
- Repeat 5 times.
What it does: Restores the curve in the lower back, which helps restore your neck’s alignment as well. Opens the chest and stretches the diaphragm, improving your ability to breathe deeply.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, about 12 inches from your hips. To a count of three, reach your arms overhead and lift your hips off the floor. Your head, arms, shoulders, and feet stay grounded. Keep your buttocks soft and core abdominals tight as you hold the stretch for a count of three (3). Now lower your arms and roll your spine, one vertebra at a time, back down to the mat. Repeat 5 times.
Visit our website for more lower back exercises such as the Hamstring Stretch, Pelvic Tilt and more… And don’t forget to visit our Fitness Store. You are never limited and you can browse for the fitness products you need!
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