Ready to take the pressure off your lower back and make your lower back stronger? There’s nothing quite as frustrating as lower back pain, and we’re here to help you safeguard yourself from those awful pangs of discomfort.
“Today, we’re going to show you a handful of exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding your low back, so hopefully you don’t get lower back pain in the future,” says physical therapist Daniel Giordano, DPT, PT, C.S.C.S. of Bespoke Treatments, in our newest episode of The Fix.
Watch the video above to see an in-depth tutorial of each move and keep reading for our brief breakdowns of the exercises.
5 Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back
Get on the ground, with your stomach on the floor floor (a prone position). Prop yourself up on your elbows and lift your knees off the ground. Tighten your quads and glutes and continue to push through your elbows and lifting your chest. Do this five times with a 30-second hold for each plank. “If you can’t do 30 seconds, start with 10 seconds [or] start with 15 seconds and then work your way up,” says Giordano. “We want to make sure that we’re starting with an isometric core exercise, so we get those core muscles firing…not putting any pressure on your lower back.”
This move is also an isometric core position, this time strengthening the oblique muscles. Lying on your side, stagger your feet so there’s no pressure on your heels. Come up onto your elbow into the side plank position, keeping your lower hip high off the ground and the core engaged. Push through your elbow and pack that shoulder blade back. Again, aim for five sets with a 30-second hold for each plank, but you can start with 10- or 15-second holds and work your way up gradually.
High Plank with Knee Drive Hold
In a standard plank position, drive your knee up toward your opposite elbow and hold for three seconds in a dorsiflexion position (in this case, that means flexing your toes towards your knees). Do about eight repetitions on each side with a three-second hold at the top. “The reason we’re doing these isometric holds here in this position [pausing by your elbow] is we want to start to strengthen your hip flexor muscle,” says Giordano, adding that your hip flexor muscle is a vertical stabilizer of the spine. “So we need to make sure that that muscle is strong enough so your core stays strong, taking pressure off of your lower back.”
High Plank with Pull Through
Get into a high plank (pushup) position with your glutes and quads tight and pushing through your hands as you lift your chest away from the ground. Reach with one arm for a sandbag positioned by your abs on the opposite side and pull it through to the other side trying to keep your hips as stable as possible. Do eight or so repetitions on each side. Your obliques will be feeling it. Keep your core as tight as possible to take pressure off your lower back and start with a lighter weight and work your way up over time.
Get onto all fours on the ground, stack your knees under your hips, pushing through the feet and the hands. Lift the knees about two inches off the ground and hold for 30 seconds for five sets, though you can start at 10 to 15 seconds and then work your way up to 30 seconds. “When you’re doing these bear planks make sure you’re pushing through those hands and pushing through those feet, keeping that core tight, engaging all the muscles around your lower back to strengthen the area and taking pressure off the lower back,” says Giordano.
Want to keep addressing lower back pain in your fitness routine? Add thesefive lower back mobility exercises for better mobility into your life and thank us later.
Perri is a New York City-born-and-based writer; she holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Columbia University and is also a culinary school graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute, which is now the Natural Gourmet Center at Institute Of Culinary Education. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Oprah Daily, Insider.com, Architectural Digest, Southern Living, and more. She’s probably seen Dave Matthews Band in your hometown, and she’ll never turn down a bloody mary. Learn more at VeganWhenSober.com.
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