Best lower back exercises

Today back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in adults.

But the good news is, "by stretching and strengthening the muscles in your back including your abs and core, you can relieve and prevent pain", says Brian Sutton, MS, MA, NASM-CPT.  

He explains, if you can catch poor posture early enough and perform the proper exercises to correct it, you can prevent back pain later on in life.

Exercises that strengthen the back muscles are shown to help correct poor posture.

They also help keep the upper body aligned and relieve pain. 

The following exercises are proven to strengthen your core and back muscles, thus they support the body and provide pain relief.

Here are the 7 best lower back exercises to strengthen your back. 

Foam Rolling

Grid foam roller

Foam rolling before each workout can do more than helping cast away sore muscles pain from your aching body.

"When you foam roll regularly, it helps untie the knots in your muscles by breaking down adhesions and heal the tissues," says Mike Boyle on Men's Health.

Foam rolling not only preps the body for the stresses of a workout, but it also relieves aches and prevents them from coming back, Mike explained. "[It's] a free massage that stops pain and helps the body heal faster."

So, how does foam rolling help with lower back pain?

If your low back hurts, foam roll your hips, glutes, and IT-band. Why? "If your hips are really stiff, you're forced to bend at your waist instead," says Mike Boyle.

"This puts pressure on your lower back—especially if weight is added during an exercise—and leads to pain and injury over time." 

Foam rolling might feel uncomfortable at first, but that means the muscle needs rolling. The more you do it, the less discomfort you'll feel.

1. Foam Roll — Glutes

Foam roll glutes

Sit on the ground with the roller slightly below your butt. Shift your weight to one side and roll up and down the length of your butt for 30 to 60 seconds. 

If you find a really sore spot, keep the roller on it and roll from side to side.

2. Foam Roll — Arm Reach

Foam roll arm reach

Lay on the foam roller horizontally with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Bend your elbows and bring your arms to the side (touch or nearly touching the ground).

Slowly extend your arms up and hold for a few seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat 3-5 times.  

3. Foam Roll — Rotation

Foam roll rotation

Lay on the foam roller horizontally with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms in the front. Slowly rotate your torso to one side across the roller. 

Pause and return. Switch sides and repeat for a total of 2-3 times per side. 

Strength Training Exercises

There's a reason that physical therapists have long advocate doing traditional resistance training exercises whether it's using bodyweight only, free weights, or machine to improve strength and regain function, especially for everyday activities.

Exercises, particularly resistance training work because it stabilizes and strengthens your entire body.

"Back pain can occur when muscles are not prepared for a certain movement, whether that's lifting something or carrying something heavy, "Says A. Lynn Millar, PT, PhD, a professor of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University.

These next 4 exercises are designed to strengthen your core and your lower back muscles. They require no equipment, so you can do them in the comfort of your home. 

4. Wall-Sit

Wall sit

Stand with your head and back against a wall. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, about 18 inches from the wall, and keep your arms straight out in front of you.

Keeping your back in contact with the wall, lower your body until your upper thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

5. Lunges


Stand up tall and place your hands on your hips with your shoulders pushed back. Step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees. 

Pause, then push yourself to the starting position.

6. Plank

Plank exercise

Start in a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of 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 are about to get punched in the gut.

Hold this position for as long as you can.

7. Side plank

Side Plank Exercise

Lie on your right side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your left forearm so your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your left hand on your hip. Brace your abs and hold for as long as you can. Then switch sides and repeat.

The Takeaway

Best lower back exercises

There you have it!

7 best lower back exercises to strengthen your back muscles. These exercises are simple and only require a few minutes a day to perform. However, if the pain persists or continues to get worse, see a qualified health professional. This post is not intended to replace medical advise. 



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