Exercises for Lower Back

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints for people all over the world. Actually, most people will experience lower back pain at some point in their life, regardless of its reasons. Besides medications and surgery, you can refer to exercises. With gentle exercise, you will activate the back and strengthen the muscles gradually, making the pain go away slowly.

Exercises for Lower Back

Exercises can be very helpful in relieving lower back pain. However, it is very important to start working out gently, until you get used to the movements. If you feel any pain during the exercises, you should stop immediately. In cases of an lower back injury, you should get an evaluation from a professional health care provider to determine if the exercises are appropriate for you.

1.   Bottom to Heels Stretch

  • Kneel on the floor.
  • Your hands should be placed under your shoulders, while your knees placed under your hips.
  • Start taking your bottom backwards slowly. End up with bottom resting on heels.
  • Make sure to maintain the natural curve of your spine.
  • Hold into this stretching position for a couple of seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.

2.   Back Extensions

  • Lie on your stomach on the floor.
  • Prop yourself on your elbows.
  • Keep your neck long and start arching your back by pushing down on your hands.
  • As you arch backwards, a gentle stretching of the abdominal muscles will occur.
  • Hold in this position for a couple of seconds. Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.

3.   Pelvic Tilts

This is one of the best exercises for lower back.

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your knees while your feet are straight and hip-width apart.
  • Keep your chin gently tucked in. Relax your upper body.
  • Contract your stomach muscles. Tilt your pelvis towards the feet until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back. 
  • Return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

4.   Knee Rolls

  • Lie on your back.
  • Keep your knees bent together and your chin gently tucked in.
  • Start rolling your knees on one side, while your shoulders are both on the floor.
  • Hold the position for several seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and start again with another side.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.

5.   Bridge

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Place your feet in a hip distance on the floor.
  • Breathe out and lift your hips off the floor until your knees, hips and shoulders are in a straight line.
  • Breathe in and lower your hips.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.

6.   Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back with your knees raised up.
  • Loop a towel under one foot.
  • Straighten your knee slowly and then pull back on the towel.
  • Repeat the exercise 2 times for each leg.
  • Leg stretch exercise is one of the greatest exercises for lower back. It will help you stretch the hamstring muscles which are usually very tight anytime you experience lower back pain.

7.   Bird Dog

  • Get yourself into all fours.
  • Get your spine in a neutral position. Keep your head in a line with your spine.
  • Raise one arm and the opposite leg.
  • Make sure not to sag down your lower back while performing the exercise. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise with the other side. 

8.   Cat & Camel

  • Arch your back toward the ceiling. Take a deep breath.
  • Exhale, tightening your abdominal muscles at the same time.
  • Drop your chest toward the floor, lifting your head slightly at the same time.
  • This exercise will stretch the connective tissue around the nerve roots of your back
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.

9.   Supermans

  • Lie on your stomach with the arms.
  • Make sure to keep your knees and elbows in a straight position.
  • Lift your arms and legs, during which your muscles of the lower back and bottom will tighten.
  • Hold in that position for a couple of seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.

10.   Wall Squats

  • Stand up straight while your back is against a wall.
  • Get your feet about 12 inches away from the wall, while your back is against the wall.
  • Bend your knees into a squat. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise about 10 times.

11.   Lunges

  • Stand up, keeping your hips width apart.
  • Step forward with one leg as you lower and bend the knee of the other leg.
  • Make sure your back is straight. Hold the position for 2 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise with the other leg. Repeat this exercise about 10 times.

12.   Side Bending

  • Stand up straight.
  • Keep your arms at your side.
  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Bend your trunk at one side, lowering your shoulder as well.
  • Hold in that position for a couple of seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise on the opposite side.

Besides the exercises for lower back, recommended activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi, etc.

Remember that certain types of sports will increase your risk of having lower back problems. Try to avoid these sports because sudden impact, rough contact, direct stress or sudden twisting of your trunk can lead to lower back injuries and lower back pain. These sports are:

  • Weightlifting
  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Volleyball
  • Handball, etc.
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