5 Lower Back Strength Exercises to Beat Aches and Pain

Ready to relieve pressure on your lower back and strengthen your lower back? There’s nothing more frustrating than lower back pain, and we’re here to help protect you from those terrible pains of discomfort.

“Today we’re going to show you a handful of exercises to strengthen the muscles around your lower back, so hopefully you won’t have lower back pain in the future,” says the physiotherapist. Daniel Giordano, DPT, PT, CSCS of Tailor-made treatmentsin our new episode of The Fix.

Watch the video above to see a detailed tutorial of each move, and keep reading for our brief exercise descriptions.

5 exercises to strengthen the lower back

elbow board

Get on the ground, stomach on the ground (lying position). Stand on your elbows and lift your knees off the floor. Squeeze your quads and glutes and continue pushing 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 start with an isometric core exercise, so that those core muscles kick in…without putting pressure on the lower back.”

side plank

This movement is also an isometric basic position, this time strengthening the oblique muscles. Lying on your side, stagger your feet so that there is no pressure on your heels. Rise onto your elbow in a side plank position, keeping your lower hip above the floor and the core engaged. Push through your elbow and tuck that shoulder blade. Again, aim for five sets with a 30 second hold for each plank, but you can start with 10 or 15 second holds and progress gradually.

High board with knee pad

In a standard plank position, push your knee toward your opposite elbow and hold for three seconds in a dorsiflexion position (in this case, that means flexing your toes toward your knees). Do about eight reps 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 that we want to start strengthening your hip flexor,” says Giordano, adding that your hip flexor is a vertical spinal stabilizer. “So we need to make sure that muscle is strong enough to keep your core strong, taking the pressure off your lower back.”

High plank with traction

Get into a high plank (pushup) position with your glutes and quads tight and push through your hands as you lift your chest off the floor. Reach with one arm for a sandbag positioned by your abs on the opposite side and pull it to the other side, trying to keep your hips as stable as possible. Do about eight repetitions on each side. Your obliques will feel it. Keep your core as tight as possible to relieve pressure on your lower back and start with a lighter weight and progress over time.

bear plank

Get on all fours on the floor, place your knees under your hips, pushing between your feet and hands. Raise the knees about two inches off the ground and hold for 30 seconds for five sets, although you can start at 10 to 15 seconds and then work your way up to 30 seconds. “When you’re doing those bear planks, make sure you’re pushing through those hands and through those feet, keeping that core tight, engaging all the muscles around your lower back to strengthen the area, and relieving the lower back,” says Giordano.

Want to continue addressing lower back pain in your fitness routine? Add thesefive lower back mobility exercises for better mobility in your life and thank us later.

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