There is nothing that can annoy me more than constant back pain! And if you’re like me and you frequently experience lower back pain, you know what I’m talking about. It affects your everyday life and prevents you from fully enjoying normal activities. But, don’t worry because there’s hope for us! By adding some strengthening exercises lower back into your routine, you can ease the constant nagging pain and start working on strengthening your back. Back pain will be a thing of the past.
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Why is it important to strengthen your lower back?
Strengthening your lower back is so much more important than you may realize. A strong lower back helps improve stability and balance throughout everything you do. It provides the support needed to maintain good posture, reducing the risk of developing poor posture-related issues such as chronic back pain and spinal misalignment.
Having a strong lower back helps in preventing injuries, especially during physical exercises or sports that involve lifting, bending, or twisting motions. By strengthening the surrounding muscles and improving flexibility, the lower back becomes more resistant to strains, sprains, and other potential injuries.
In general, your lower back is the center point of everything you do and if you have a weak lower back, doing simple things may become a challenge. When I just started working out I always had issues with my lower back. Whether I was doing a plank, training my arms or even my core, my lower back was always sore. I had such a weak lower back that it affected every single exercise I did and I was in constant pain. Investing in a good back roller can also help alleviate some of the pain and tension.
Best strengthening exercises lower back.
These are a few of the exercises I often turn to to make sure that my lower back stays strong and healthy. These exercises are so easy to do and you can do them pretty much anywhere. In all honesty, I don’t always get time to work on my back during my workouts. I’m a mom and have very limited time to get things done, and let me tell you, these exercises are great to do in bed! After doing them I even sleep better at night. You got to do what you got to do right?
Not only are bridges great for strengthening your lower back, but you get in a little extra core and glute workout too. If you feel like you can handle a bit more, try placing weights on your hip bones to make the movement more challenging.
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the ground next to you. Engage your glutes and lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly lower your hips back down. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
This is another great exercises you can do anywhere (even in bed.) If you feel that you can take on even more, try adding ankle and wrist weights for more resistance. The more comfortable you get in this position you can start doing small bounces with your arms and legs and hold the movement for longer.
Lie face down on the floor with your arms extended straight in front of you and legs stretched out behind. Simultaneously lift your legs, arms, and upper body off the ground as high as you can, creating a “superman” position. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down. Aim for 10-12 repetitions.
This is such an easy exercise and works wonders for strengthening your lower back. Like most of the other exercises you can make it more challenging by adding dumbbells into the movement. Make sure to not add them too soon as this could lead to over straining your back muscles and cause a possible injury.
Start on all fours, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Slowly extend your right arm forward while simultaneously lifting your left leg straight behind you. Keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the movement. Hold for a few seconds and then switch sides.
Aim to do 8-10 repetitions on each side.
Cat-Cows are a hidden gem of exercises and something I do every single morning before getting out of bed! Not only is this great for strengthening your lower back but it gives you a really good stretch too.
Begin on all fours, with your hands beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Slowly arch your back upward, tucking your chin toward your chest (the cat position). Hold for a few seconds, then slowly reverse the movement, dropping your belly toward the floor while lifting your head and looking upward (the cow position). Repeat this stretch 8-10 times.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love planking! This is a great compound exercise that works on so many different muscle groups at a time. This exercise is great for your back, shoulder, core and arms. I end every single workout I do off with a set of planks and I have never regretted it. It can make a major difference and it’s such a small habit to have.
Lie facedown on the floor. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows beneath your shoulders. Lift your body off the ground and onto your toes, keeping a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core and hold this position for as long as you can, aiming for 30-60 seconds.
Cobra pose is a great yoga pose for strengthening the lower back. It does wonders for back flexibility too and has a ton of variations you can try. The cobra pose is highly effective in toning and rejuvenating the lower back muscles, as it helps stretch and lengthen the spine while gently opening the chest.
To do the cobra pose, start by lying face down on the mat with palms placed beneath the shoulders and legs extended behind. When inhaling, slowly lift your head, chest, and abdomen off the ground, arching your back while keeping your lower body grounded.
This is one of my favorite poses to do when I have any sign of lower back pain. The relief it gives is just amazing. Not only is it great for releasing some tension, it is such a great pose to find calmness and relaxation. I have found that just spending a minute or so in this pose every night before bed get me into a calm head space and I sleep so much better.
To do this pose, start on all fours, bringing your hips back towards your heels while allowing your forehead to rest on the ground. The gentle stretch and compression of the lower back in child’s pose help to release tension, lengthen the spine, and increase blood flow to the area.
Adjust the intensity.
It’s important to start with proper form, gradually increasing the intensity and duration as you build strength. Start by performing each exercise 2-3 times a week, and gradually increase the frequency as you become more comfortable.
Listen to your body. If any exercise causes pain or discomfort, discontinue it and consult a healthcare professional. In addition to these strengthening exercises, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and adopting a regular stretching routine can further support your lower back health.
Common signs of a weak lower back.
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different and just because you might be experiencing some of these symptoms, doesn’t mean that it is only related to a weak lower back. If constant issues persist, reach out to your medical healthcare provider for further investigation.
- Persistent lower back pain: Chronic or recurring pain in the lower back that doesn’t seem to improve with rest or basic remedies.
- Limited range of motion: Difficulty bending forward, backward, or sideways without experiencing discomfort or stiffness.
- Muscle spasms: Uncontrollable contractions or tightness in the muscles of the lower back, often causing sharp pain.
- Difficulty standing or sitting for extended periods: Discomfort or pain when maintaining a seated or standing position for a prolonged time.
- Pain during specific activities: Discomfort or pain that intensifies during activities such as lifting, bending, or twisting.
- Postural problems: Noticeable changes in posture, such as a persistent slouch or the inability to stand upright comfortably.
- Pain after periods of inactivity: Discomfort that arises after sitting or lying down for an extended period, commonly known as morning stiffness.
- Pain exacerbated by certain movements: Aggravation of pain when performing particular movements or exercises.
How long does it take to strengthen your lower back?
There is no specific set time that it takes to strengthen your lower back. There are so many different factors that come in to play. Generally, it can take several weeks to a few months to notice significant improvements in lower back strength. Consistency is key, as regular exercise and targeted strengthening exercises will gradually build endurance and muscle strength in your lower back over time.
If you want to see significant changes, make sure to train on a daily basis and use the right exercises. For more severe cases I would suggest working with a healthcare provider to ensure that your exercise routine aligns with your goals.
Remember to start with exercises that are within your fitness level and gradually progress to more challenging movements as your strength improves. Always listen to your body and give it what it needs. If you feel pain during any type of exercise it is better to stop and change up what you are doing.
Exercises to avoid when you have back pain.
It’s not ideal to avoid most exercises that cause lower back pain in general, but when you have on-going back pain, I would suggest avoiding these types of exercises until the pain settles down. Doing aggravating exercises while you have back pain can make the pain worse and even lead to injuries and further damage.
- Heavy weightlifting: Activities that involve heavy lifting, especially exercises like deadlifts and squats, can strain the lower back and worsen pain.
- High-impact aerobics: Activities with repetitive high-impact movements, such as running or jumping, can jar the spine and worsen lower back pain.
- Sit-ups and crunches: Traditional abdominal exercises that involve forward bending can put excessive pressure on the lower back, potentially causing discomfort.
- Leg lifts: Lifting both legs while lying on your back can strain the lower back, especially if not done with proper form.
- Twisting exercises: Movements that involve twisting the torso, such as Russian twists or certain yoga poses, can stress the spine and contribute to lower back pain.
- High-impact sports: Sports that involve sudden stops, starts, or quick changes in direction can strain the lower back, making them less suitable for individuals with existing pain.
- Rowing exercises: Poor form or excessive resistance in rowing exercises can strain the lower back; caution is needed when performing these movements.
- Overhead exercises: Overhead weightlifting, especially with poor form, can stress the lower back and should be approached cautiously.
- Excessive bending or hyperextension: Activities that require excessive bending forward or backward, like some yoga poses, may aggravate lower back pain and should be done with care.
RELATED: 9 Easy Exercises You Can Do In Bed.
Strong lower back muscles are essential for a pain-free life. By adding these simple exercises into your routine, you can strengthen your lower back, alleviate pain, and improve your overall well-being. Remember, consistency is key, so make these exercises a part of your regular routine and enjoy the benefits of a strong and healthy lower back!
Your Wellness Warrior.