Feet flat, knees bent, upper body motion, the right starting position – let’s break down how to strengthen your lower back.
Think of any athletic movement for a second. Chances are you thought of something that in some way requires your lower back. And just like any aspiring athlete or informal trainer, you’ll want that movement to be executed perfectly.
But there’s always something in the way.
We can’t come out of the gate in our strongest form, we need to put in the work to get there. So, with back strengthening exercises, engaging your core muscles and back muscles too, you’ll be moving one step closer to reinforcing a commonly relied-on muscle area. Oh, and becoming the athlete or trainer you imagined in that movement a second ago.
Warning – this article will contain phrases like, ‘move in a straight line’, ‘engage your abdominal muscles’, and ‘keep your leg straight and slowly lift.’ If you’re a visual learner, then it’s best to go to YouTube and find some movements, but if you prefer the journal or noted approach, then this piece is perfect for you.
Let’s put our backs into it.
1) Glute Bridge
This classic movement gives fresh results, revitalising back issues and strengthening back muscles as you perform it. The glute bridge helps with lower back pain and strengthening by engaging your lower back muscles during hip extension. This exercise helps with external rotation and abduction too, so make sure to equip yourself with this dexterous routine.
- Step 1: Lie on the back with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place the arms down by the sides of the body with the palms of the hands facing upward.
- Step 2: Tighten the abdominal muscles and squeeze the gluteal muscles.
- Step 3: Lift the pelvis off the floor. Continue to lift so that the body forms a straight line through the shoulder, hip, and knee.
- Step 4: Hold the position for at least 2 seconds.
- Step 5: Slowly return to the start position.
- Step 6: Repeat the steps above 10–15 times.
2) The Plank position
In order to refrain from making pain worse, and to build a nice baseline strength in your lower back region, you should incorporate the plank into your exercise routine. Just like the bird dog exercise, the plank will help you to bend, stand and lift objects, as well as keeping your core tight.
A person can perform a plank by following the steps below:
- Step 1: Lie on the stomach with the forearms against the floor and the elbows directly in line with the shoulders.
- Step 2: Tighten the abdominal and gluteal muscles.
- Step 3: Lift the hips and both knees off the floor.
- Step 4: Hold the position for 10–30 seconds without allowing the pelvis to sag toward the floor.
- Step 5: Slowly return to the start position and then repeat 5 times.
There are a thousand reasons not to perform these exercises… but you only need one to do them – injury prevention. Besides straying from unnecessary injury, having the strength to perform athletic movements, like compound exercises and cardio, will boost your performance significantly.