Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back
Lower back pain is more common than you may think because of our typical everyday habits (which include bad posture at work, for example). For this reason, in the following article we will discuss exercises to strengthen your lower back and get rid of disabling discomfort.
Adults suffer many consequences from being sedentary. One of them is lower back pain, or “lumbar” pain.
The discomfort is caused by the accumulation of tension due to lack of mobility and poor muscle development.
If this area of your body hurts, you should avoid spending many hours sitting, like working in front of a computer, for example. Try to get up and take a walk around the office while you drink coffee or talk on the phone.
Having a comfortable chair that is not too soft is essential to maintaining good posture. Also, when you have to lift anything heavy off of the ground, don’t make the mistake of leaning forward and placing all the weight on your back.
Instead of doing that, we recommend you flex your knees while you stoop.
- When you are going to sleep, do not use a mattress that is too soft, and try to sleep on your back with a pillow underneath your knees.
See also: Four Recommendations to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Exercises for strengthening your lumbar muscles
Although doing physical activity is very important, you don’t need to get a gym membership to do these exercises. You can strengthen your lower back at home when you come back from work or after daily chores.
1. Torso lift
- To begin, lie face down on a mat or blanket.
- Stretch your legs behind you and place your arms back (leave them on the buttocks).
- Raise your head and torso to “lift off” the floor as much as you can.
- Hold this posture for a few seconds and release.
A variation of this exercise is known as “the cobra” and consists of supporting yourself on your hands, placed shoulder width apart, and then stretching your arms. Tilt your head back for more efficiency.
2. Knee flexion
This exercise is very relaxing and has several benefits, such as strengthening the lumbar region.
- Lie on your back and pull your knees to your chest.
- Hold them between your arms as if curling into a ball.
- Exert some pressure and move your legs from side to side like a pendulum.
- Then stretch your right leg and concentrate on putting pressure only on the left leg using your hands.
- Switch sides after 30 seconds.
3. Pelvis lift
Believe it or not, this exercise also helps your lower back, because it strengthens your entire back in general.
- Face up on a mat, flex your legs to support your feet. Your arms should stay on the side of your body.
- Slowly raise your pelvis until your back is completely lifted off the floor. The idea is to support your head, shoulders, and arms (in addition to the feet).
- Lower yourself down slowly.
Once you have done this exercise several times, you can add a weight that you can place on your stomach.
4. Cat exercise
This exercise is used a lot in yoga and is idea for relieving lumbar pain.
- Place your knees and the palms of your hands on the ground.
- Arch your back and “hide” your head between your shoulders.
- Then do the reverse movement: your head goes back and your back goes down.
- As in the previous exercise, when you have performed it several times, you can add a weight ( a disc, for example) to your back.
5. Isometric exercises
This is another excellent option to strengthen the lumbar region and work your entire back, abdominals, and legs at the same time.
- Lie face down on the mat and lift your legs (from the knee down) and arms off of the ground.
- Maintain this posture for a few seconds and release.
A variation is to alternate arms and legs, lifting the right leg and left arm and then the opposite.
6. “Prayer” position
If you’re suffering from a great deal of back pain, this stretch can really help you.
- Get on your knees on the floor and lower your torso until your forehead touches the floor.
- Stretch your arms over your head and place your palms on the floor.
- Your buttocks should remain on your heels.
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7. Cross stretch
- Lie face up on the floor with your legs stretched out.
- Cross your right leg over your left. Raise your lumbar area slightly.
- Stretch your right arm and try to make your right knee touch the ground to make the stretch more effective.
Another alternative to this exercise is to cross one leg on top of the other and place the sole of your foot on the floor.
8. Opposite lifts
This exercise is ideal for strengthening the lower back, and to alleviate pain caused by bad posture or habits. It also improves balance.
- Place your knees on the ground. Then the palms of your hands. Stretch your arms.
- Raise your right leg (keep it straight), while lifting your left arm and stretching it completely.
- Lower both the arm and leg and do the same with the other side. Remember that all movements should be slow to avoid falling over.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
Lopez Miñarro, P. Á. (2009). Ejercicios para el fortalecimiento de la musculatura lumbar. Facultad de Educación. Universidad de Murcia.
Franco, C., Guerra, Z., & Otero, M. (2007). Estudio de caso: Terapia manual en una paciente de 18 a??os con escoliosis juvenil idiop??tica. Revista Ciencias de La Salud.
Sagi, G. (2012). Evaluación y tratamiento mecánico de las radiculopatías discales lumbares con el método McKenzie (MDT). EMC – Kinesiterapia – Medicina Física. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1293-2965(12)61947-1