About 80% of Americans suffer debilitating low back pain at some point in their life. This fact is staggering, yet it doesn’t have to be this common. The key to staying out of this group comes down to one word: Prevention.  If I had to choose one common problem amongst all low back pain sufferers, it would be bad low back position or mechanics during common activities such as brushing your teeth, bending over, lifting, exercising, and sitting. To combat this, we need a set of exercises to strengthen your lower back.

This will build a set of corrective exercises and stretches you can implement to your daily routine. We realize there are different types of corrective exercises to strengthen your lower back. We have provided you with just a sampling of beginner level correctives. More advanced solutions should be supervised by a doctor to take any red flags into consideration.

8 Most Effective Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back

Cross-Crawl (Bird Dog Alternating Arm & Leg)

  • Begin on your hands and knees in a quadruped position.
  • While abdominally bracing, slowly extend your right leg and left arm into a fully straightened “bird dog” position.
  • Hold this contraction for two seconds before returning to touch your right hand to your left knee and repeating for ten repetitions before switching sides.
  • Keep your abdominals engaged the entire time and do not arch your back or twist your hips at any point

Glute Bridge

  • Lay on your back on an exercise mat or the floor in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you.
  • Gently contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Attempt to maintain this gentle muscle contraction throughout the exercise.
  • Gently exhale. Keep the abdominals engaged and, pressing through your heels, lift your hips up off the floor until your body is in a straight line between your knees and shoulders.
  • Avoid pushing your hips too high, which can cause hyperextension (arching) in your low back.
  • Lowering Phase: Inhale and slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.

Single Leg Glute Bridge

  • Lay on your back on an exercise mat or the floor in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Raise one leg off the ground, pulling the knee to your chest. This will be your starting position.
  • Execute the movement by driving through the heel, extending your hip upward and raising your glutes off the ground.
  • Extend as far as possible without arching your back, pause and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Front Plank

  • Lay face down with your elbows bent directly under your shoulders and your knees bent.
  • Engage your abdominals and raise your body off the ground onto your elbows and knees.
  • Maintain a straight spine, chin tucked, and abdominal brace. Do not allow hips to drop or spine to arch!
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds or to fatigue.
  • Once you can perform with ease, change from a knee position to a toe position.

Most Effective Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back

Side Plank

  • Begin lying on your side, resting your weight on your forearm and feet with your elbow directly under your shoulder.
  • Have your legs stacked one on top of the other and lift your hips forward and up to the ceiling until your body is straight keeping your shoulders, hips, and ankles in a line.
  • Engage your abdominals while holding this position for 30-60 seconds or to fatigue.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Most Effective Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back

Standing Back Extensions

  • Stand up, with your feet about hip-width apart, and place your hands on top of your pelvis (the back of your hips).
  • Keep your knees straight as you gently bend until you can feel a mild to moderate stretch in your lower abdominals.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat ten times, trying to extend slightly farther back each time.
  • If you experience low back pain or discomfort when extending back, only extend back until you “touch discomfort.”
  • Stop this exercise immediately if you notice increased radiating pain into your leg

Triplanar Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Begin standing in a “lunge” position with one leg back until a stretch is felt in your hip.
  • Lunge forward to increase the stretch in your hip. Hold this position for two or three seconds and return to neutral.
  • Slowly lunge forward ten times, each time increasing the stretch.
  • Perform ten additional repetitions of increased stretch by rotating your body away from your back leg.
  • Perform a final set of 10 repetitions of increased stretch by raising your arm on the same side and rotating your body away while performing lunges.

Single Leg Deadlift

  • Begin by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in one arm by your side.
  • Transfer your body weight to the leg opposite the arm holding the weight with your knee bent only slightly.
  • Slowly flex forward from the hips on your stance leg while moving your chest and the dumbbell toward the floor.
  • Keep your back and kicking leg straight while keeping your glutes and core tight.
  • Once a stretch along your glutes and hamstrings is felt, pause at the bottom, and then nearly return to the top.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions before switching to the opposite leg.

These are all helpful exercises to strengthen your lower back. However, they may not be completely effective on your own. For that reason, chiropractic care is a great resource to relieve your low back pain. Contact Back to Health Chiropractic today!