How to strengthen the lower back How to strengthen the lower back

How to strengthen the lower back

By working out the lower back muscles, you can provide additional stability for the spine and support for the upper body. Stretches such as the plank and knee-to-chest are beneficial for building lower back strength. Doing regular lower back workouts can also help to reduce and prevent pain.

 

Incorporating a back stretching routine after working on back strengthening can help reduce injury and muscle soreness. Additionally, stretching can help improve range of motion and flexibility, providing even more benefits.

Strengthening exercises

Exercising safely and responsibly can help keep your lower back healthy and pain-free.

Glute bridge

The glute bridge exercise targets the gluteus maximus, the most significant gluteal muscle. This muscle activates when a person lifts their hips, for example, when standing out of a squat. Additionally, it helps with external rotation, when the hip and knee move away from the body, and abduction, when the leg is lifted away from the body.

 

The gluteus maximus muscles help to stabilise the lower back and pelvis. When they are weak, the lower back and pelvis can become misaligned, leading to lower back pain. Strengthening these muscles can help prevent this from happening.

 

The gluteal muscles are essential in providing stability in the lower back region, acting as both a stabiliser and a mobiliser. When strong, they can support the lower back and hips while stabilising the knees during extended movements.

 

  • Step 1: Position yourself on your back, ensuring Your feet are flat on the floor while your knees remain bent. It would help to place your arms alongside your body, palms upward.

  • Step 2:Engage your core muscles and contract your gluteal muscles.

  • Step 3:Gradually raise your pelvis off the floor, continuing the motion until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders through your hips down to your knees.

  • Step 4:Maintain this lifted position for a minimum of 2 seconds.

  • Step 5Slowly lower your body back to the starting position.

  • Step 6:Repeat the steps as mentioned earlier 10 to 15 times.

Bird-dog

The bird-dog is an exercise that works the gluteal muscles and the back muscles that attach to the spine and allow for activities such as standing, bending, and lifting.

 

Following are the steps to perform the bird-dog exercise:

Step 1: Position yourself on a tabletop with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

Step 2:Engage your abdominal muscles and extend your right arm straight ahead.

Step 3:Maintain your balance in this position.

Step 4:Gradually raise your left leg and extend it straight behind you.

Step 5: Hold this posture for 15 seconds.

Step 6:Return to the initial position and repeat the same sequence on the opposite side.

Step 7:Complete this exercise for a total of 5 repetitions on each side.

Plank

Plank exercises not only target the abdominals, but they also engage the arms, shoulders, hip flexors, and feet. By doing planks, people can improve their overall body stability and strength. In addition, this exercise can cause the quadratus lumborum muscle to contract, which is the deepest rear muscle and connects the lowest rib to the pelvic bone.

 

The following steps can be followed to perform a plank:

  • Step 1: Lie face down on your back with your elbows aligned with your shoulders.

  • Step 2:Engage your abdominal and gluteal muscles to stabilise your core.

  • Step 3:Raise both your hips and knees off the floor.

  • Step 4:Maintain this raised position for 10 to 30 seconds, ensuring your pelvis does not droop towards the floor.

  • Step 5:Gradually lower yourself back to the starting position.

  • Step 6:Repeat this sequence five times.

 

Keeping the knees slightly bent and on the ground is recommended to make the exercise more manageable. Keeping your knees straight from the hips to the shoulders is essential for effective execution of the exercise.

Side plank

The side plank is an exercise variation of the traditional plank that engages the quadratus lumborum, gluteus medius, and TFL. Strengthening these muscles is beneficial for promoting hip stability.

 

To perform a side plank, you must follow these steps:

  • Step 1:Start by lying on your right side, keeping your right leg slightly bent and your left leg straight, placing your left foot on the floor. Ensure your right arm is positioned directly beneath your right shoulder, with your forearm extended forward.

  • Step 2:Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your right hip off the floor.

  • Step 3: Raise your right knee off the floor, straighten your right leg, and stack your feet on each other.

  • Step 4:Maintain a straight body alignment and hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.

  • Step 5:Gradually move back to the starting position, then switch to your left side to repeat the same sequence.

  • Step 6:Complete these steps for a total of 5 repetitions on each side.

 

Modification:

If the exercise proves to be too challenging, participants may choose to keep their lower knee bent and in contact with the ground.

Abdominal drawing-in manoeuvre

Poor core strength, stemming from weak abdominal muscles, can lead to lower back pain. Strengthening the abdominal muscles helps support the spine and ensures the hips are properly aligned.

 

Strengthening the transversus abdominis (TA) muscle helps to stabilise the spine, and the abdominal drawing-in manoeuvre (ADIM) is an exercise that can be done to achieve this.

 

The following steps should be followed to perform ADIMTrusted Source:

 

  • Step 1: Rest your arms by your sides

  • while lying on your back; your knees should be bent.

  • It would be best if you pulled your belly button toward your spine as you maintain a neutral spine position.

  • Step 3:Inhale.

  • Step 4:Exhale while simultaneously contracting your abdominals and drawing your belly button inward.

  • Step 5:Maintain this contraction for 10 seconds, and then release. Rest for 15 seconds.

  • Step 6:Repeat this process for a total of 10 repetitions.

Abdominal crunches

Strengthening the abdominal muscles through abdominal crunches helps to improve spinal support and hip alignment. This helps to create a stable core that reduces injury risks and improves posture.

 

A series of movements is involved in abdominal crunches:

 

  • Step 1:Start by lying down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, positioned hip-width apart.

  • Step 2:You can either cross your hands over your chest or extend them along the sides of your body toward your feet.

  • Step 3:Engage your abdominal muscles, and as you exhale, lift your head and shoulder blades off the floor.

  • Step 4:Lower yourself back to the starting position.

  • Step 5:Perform the exercise 10 to 15 times, repeating the steps above.

Stretching exercises

individuals combine back strengthening exercises with back stretching exercises. This combination helps prevent muscle soreness and injury while restoring range of motion and flexibility.

 

Incorporating the following lower back stretching exercises into one's daily routine can improve the flexibility and strength of the lower back muscles.

Knee-to-chest stretches

Performing knee-to-chest stretches can help reduce tension and pain in the lower back muscles by increasing their length and flexibility.

 

Performing the knee-to-chest stretch can be done as follows:

  • Step 1: Let's begin with lying on your back with both legs extended flat against the floor.

  • Step 2:Lift your right leg, bending the knee toward your chest.

  • Step 3: Use both hands to pull your right knee closer to your chest gently.

  • Step 4: Try to hold your right knee against your chest for several seconds.

  • Step 5: Then return your right leg to the starting position.

  • Step 6: Repeat the same sequence with your left leg, then return to the starting position.

Kneeling back stretch

A kneeling back extension can help to loosen and relax the lower back muscles, reducing pain and tension in this region.

 

Kneeling back stretches can be performed by following these steps:

  • Step 1: Start the movement on your hands and knees, ensuring your knees are hip-width apart and your shoulders are directly above your hands.

  • Step 2:Round your back, drawing your belly button toward your spine and tilting your lower back toward the floor.

  • Step 3:Maintain this position for 5 seconds.

  • Step 4:Gently rock backwards, lowering your buttocks as close as possible to your heels while extending your arms forward.

  • Step 5:Hold this position for 5 seconds.

  • Step 6:Carefully rock back up to the starting position. Repeat this sequence 10 to 15 times.

Modified seated side straddle

This exercise, which is done while seated, stretches the hamstring, abductor, and extensor muscles in the mid and lower back.

 

To straddle seated sideways, one must follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Start by sitting with both legs extended straight in front of your body, forming a "V" shape with your feet apart.

  • Step 2: Bend your left leg, bringing your left foot to touch your right knee while allowing your left knee to open outward.

  • Step 3:Maintain a straight back and hinge at your hips, reaching toward your right foot.

  • Step 4: Slowly round your spine, bringing your hands closer to your right ankle or shin while lowering your head as close to your right knee as possible.

  • Step 5: Try to hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax for 30 seconds. Repeat the same sequence on the other side.

  • Step 6:Complete a total of 5 to 6 repetitions.

Summary

Incorporating lower back strengthening and stretching exercises into your routine can help improve the strength, stability, and flexibility of the lower back, which may reduce or prevent lower back pain.

 

It is important to stop any back exercises immediately if they cause the back pain to worsen and to seek medical attention. Doing so can help to properly diagnose and treat the condition, as well as prevent further injury.

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