11 exercises to reduce lower back pain

Also called erector lumbar muscles, they are responsible for maintaining the structure of the spine by elevating it. A strong lower back helps prevent injuries and pain during movements such as bending forward and picking up objects.

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Like any muscle, unless we actively work the lower back muscles, they will weaken over time. It is not uncommon for someone to pull a muscle in this area due to a muscular imbalance. This is why it is essential to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and trunk to prevent injury.

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Here are 11 exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back – add a few to your existing body strength routine or string them all together for a lower back workout.

Superman

This exercise engages the entire back of the body, from the upper back to the lower legs. Lifting into this position teaches the back to work together in tandem, with the shoulders working to raise the arms and the buttocks, hamstrings, and back muscles to lift the legs. Lie on your stomach, arms extended forward and legs back. Open the legs hip-width apart and arms shoulder-width apart. Pull your belly button in and off the floor to engage your abdominal muscles. Relax the shoulders as you reach the arms off the floor and squeeze the quads as you lift the legs off the floor. Avoid putting too much pressure on your lower back by making sure your abdominal muscles stay contracted. All the muscles in the back of the body will be engaged, from the calves to the upper back muscles.

swimmers practice

bathers

This exercise trains the back of the body to work in opposition to improve balance, spine strength, and mobility. Similar to the Superman exercise, you’ll start by lying on your stomach. This time, instead of lifting both arms and legs together simultaneously, you’ll lift the right arm and left leg off the ground, then alternate. Make sure your abs are tensed the whole time. Do 10 reps on each side.

Good morning exercise

good morning

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands behind your head. Add a slight bend to your knees, lower your pelvis and engage your core. Keep your back straight, hips hinged, and lower your torso toward the floor. Slowly lower down until your upper body is parallel to the floor, pause, and then return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps.

Dog bird exercise

flying dog

Start in a tabletop position with hands and knees on the floor. Engage your core and try to keep your hips stable as you extend your opposite arm and the opposite leg out. Pause for a few seconds, while maintaining your balance. Return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Continue alternating for 10 times on each side.

Gluteal bridge

Gluteal bridge

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Engage your core, and press your lower back into the floor. Next, slowly curl your back off the floor to drive your hips skyward. Don’t overextend your back by lifting it high. Stop when your hips have created a straight line from your knees to your upper back. Hold the position, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps.

Forearm plank

Forearm plank

Start on your hands and knees on the mat. Align your shoulders above your wrists. Come down to your forearms and walk your knees back a few inches. Pull your navel in toward your spine, tuck your toes under it and lift your legs off the floor. Squeeze your quad muscles and reach your heels toward the back of the room. If you have a mirror, look at yourself to make sure you are in one straight line! Engage your core, and keep your back straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat.

Dumbbell-free deadlift rows

Dumbbell-free deadlift rows

Start in a high plank position. Engage your core before lifting one hand off the floor, pulling your hand up to your shoulder and hugging your elbow toward your side to engage your upper back. Return to the starting position, then repeat the movement with the other arm. Complete 10 reps with each arm.

Cat cow exercise

cow cat

Start on your hands and knees with your hands on the floor below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Move into cow by breathing in, dropping your stomach toward the floor and looking toward the ceiling, arching your back. Exhale as you move into catfish position, pull your belly button toward your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. Let your head fall toward the ground. Repeat 10 times.

Pilates half-down exercise

Pilates half roll

Sitting on the floor, bend your knees. (For a more advanced exercise, straighten your legs.) Then extend your arms in front of you with shoulders relaxed. Pull the navy toward your spine and slowly roll down onto your lower back. Pause and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Lateral forearm plank

Lateral forearm plank

From a forearm plank position, rotate your body to the left, balancing your weight on your right forearm and the edge of your right foot. Extend your left arm up in the air, keeping the elbow bent. Place your left foot on top of the right and pull your right side off the ground to work the entire right side of your body. Return to the forearm plank and repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate sides, doing 10 repetitions on each side.

Cobra exercise

Cobra

Lie face down on your yoga mat. Place your palms flat on the mat just below your shoulders. Add a bend in your elbows, keeping them tucked in at your sides. Inhale and then lift your chest off the mat as you exhale. Roll your shoulders back while keeping your neck neutral. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds.

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