5 Great Lower Back Exercises
The lower back is one of the easiest parts of the body to injure, whether at the gym, at play or at work. So when it comes to this particular body part, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. These guidelines will help to strengthen the lower back with minimal risk of injury, but as always, ask a physician before engaging in any new exercise program.
First, Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises are a good idea before the start of any physical activity, especially a workout, but the lower back isn’t the easiest party of the body to stretch. Sometimes we have to get creative.
Lay on your back on the floor with your buttocks pressing against a wall and your legs flat against it pointing up. This stretch relaxes the lower back and drains excess fluid from the knees, ankles and feet.
Now lay on your back with your knees bent toward your chest. Put your arms out straight against the floor in a T form for balance and lower your knees, legs still bent, to the floor next to your left arm. Hold this post for a minute or two and then repeat on the right side.
Finally, lay on your stomach, legs straight behind you while propping yourself up on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Press forward with your pelvis while pressing down with your palms and the tops of your feet. Your pose will resemble the Sphinx. If you are doing it right, you will feel the sensation in our lower back. Hold this pose for as long as it feels comfortable and remember to breathe.
Get on the Ball
These dynamic stabilization exercises will help to strengthen the secondary muscles of the spine.
Lay on your stomach over a large exercise ball. Raise one arm at a time over your head and then lift one leg at a time a few inches off the floor. Do not arch your lower back during this exercise.
Now walk your hands out until the ball is under your legs instead of your stomach, then walk back till the ball is back under your stomach.
Advanced users can do a few push-ups while the ball is under their legs.
Walk the Plank
The side plank is a great way to build strength for the core muscles that support your lower back.
Lay down on your left side, leaning on your elbow with your body in a straight line. Tighten your stomach while lifting your hips from the floor and keep your body in a straight line. Hold this position for half a minute and lower your hips back down. Complete three sets and then repeat on your right side.
Bridge the Gap
Lay on your back again with legs bent up and feet level against the floor about as wide apart as your hips. Tighten your buttock muscles while you lift your hips for a slow count of a few seconds. Do ten reps. Once you need more of a challenge, lift one leg straight up toward the ceiling while holding the pose. This is very challenging.
Don’t Forget to Work on Your Core
Exercises that strengthen your stomach, back and leg muscles will make you less vulnerable to back injury. It is most important to trust your body. If you are feeling back strain, it is best not to do straight or bent-let sit-ups, leg lifts or lift heavy weights above your waist until you feel better.