Do you suffer from lower back pain, or simply want to protect your lower back from injury? Simple exercises that target core stability and keep the lower back moving safely can significantly reduce lower back pain levels and help protect against future injury. Motion is lotion, so keep that lower back healthy with these four simple exercises. Try them either on the floor at home or in the gym, or even on a GlideFit or Terra board to add a deeper level of stability training!
Pelvic tilt and abs hollow – this exercise engages the abdominal muscles to support the lower spine.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and flat on the floor or board. Pull the belly button in towards the spine and tuck your tailbone under a little to flatten out your lower back. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds then relax, Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Glute bridge – this exercise strengthens the glute muscles of the buttocks, which play an important role in supporting the lower back.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor or board. Pull the belly button in towards the spine and slowly lift your hips off the floor and raise them towards the ceiling (or sky if you’re outdoors!). Hold for a couple of seconds and squeeze the glute muscles at the top of the lift, then slowly lower back down to the ground. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Cat / Cow – this exercise strengthens the core muscles and helps promote mobility of the lower and middle spine.
Place your hands and knees on the floor or board, ensuring that your knees are directly under the hips and the hands directly under the shoulders. Keep your arms straight throughout the exercise. As you breathe out, pull your belly button in to the spine and arch your back upwards like a cat. As you breathe in, come out of the arch and allow your tummy to relax a little, creating a small hollow in the lower spine. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Bird dog – this exercise helps build core stability, balance, and strengthens the muscles in the lower back.
Place your hands and knees on the floor or board, ensuring that your knees are directly under the hips and the hands directly under the shoulders. Keep your arms straight throughout the exercise. Slowly lift your left arm out in front of you while, at the same time, lifting the right leg straight out behind you. Pause for a second and slowly return to the starting position, Repeat on the other side. Do this 8 to 10 times each side, this the best according to Thomas Miller of The Fitness Judge. If lifting both limbs at the same time is too challenging, simply lift one limb at a time.
Perform these four exercises one to two times a day to increase core stability. You could even use this routine as a warm-up prior to undertaking any other form of exercise to enjoy the benefits of a healthier lower back.