The secret to strengthening your lower back? Don’t neglect your abs and glutes. They might not be the obvious body parts to concentrate on if you’re trying to boost your back strength, but research by Ohio State University found that weak muscles deep in the core put pressure on the spine and lead to back problems. These functional exercises focus on muscles deeper in your back – the usual culprits for eventual lower back pain.
Before you start, it’s imperative that we point out that you should always get clearance by your doctor before beginning the exercises below. Lower back problems can appear for different reasons, and the best way to tackle them is still consulting a doctor first. Having said this, here are 4 exercises to strengthen your lower back.
It’s important to stabilize the spinal joints and support core strength if you want to build your lower back muscles. This functional exercise works muscles from your shoulders to your buttocks, gently strengthening your back extensors (muscles that contract along your spine, helping you sit up and arch your back). Here’s how to do it:
Research has shown that SMR – which stands for self-myofascial release – can reduce muscle soreness and increase range of motion. Foam rollers (download our free foam rolling guide here) are the way to get this release and are your lower back’s best friend. Grab yourself a roll and practice this move daily to reduce lower back pain.
Ever seen a bug frantically trying to flip itself upright after accidentally ending up on its back? That’s the idea behind this move’s name (without the desperation, or potential of being eaten by a crow). It’s the perfect exercise to strengthen your core and protect your lower back, without putting strain on it.
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your buttocks and helps with everything from stabilizing your hips to aiding back flexibility. Weak glutes can cause back pain – so keep them strong with regular bridges.