LOW BACK PAIN EXERCISES

NOTE: Before performing these exercises, please talk to your doctor first to make sure you are healthy enough to do them
Overview
  • The exercises presented here can help strengthen core muscles including back muscles, abdominal muscles, and oblique muscles. Strengthening core muscles often reduces or alleviates low back pain.
  • The stretches can loosen tight lower back muscles which often helps to reduce pain. The stretches may be performed as much as desired, but they should always be performed before doing the exercises.
Creating a workout
  • The exercises are divided into back/core exercises and exercises that mainly target the abdominal muscles. To start a workout, pick four back/core exercises and four abdominal exercises. Perform one back/core exercise, and without taking a break, perform an abdominal exercise. This is called a superset. After a superset, take a short break and then repeat the sequence until a total of 4 suspersets are completed. Move to the next two exercises and repeat.
  • Perform the workout at least 3 times a week and more if able. As strength improves, add more exercises to the workout.
Equipment
  • Dumbbells or a weight bar are necessary for some of the exercises. Dumbbells can also be used to increase the difficulty of some exercises.
  • The FRONT INCLINE EXTENSION and SIDE INCLINE EXTENSION exercises require a hyperextension bench. While everyone may not have access to a bench, we included these exercises because they are excellent for strengthening the lower back muscles. A bench can be purchased for a nominal price, and we encourage anyone who is serious about strengthening their back to get one.


Special thanks to Kristine Crump and Straight Fitness for help in designing and demonstrating the exercise program
STRETCHES
PARACHUTE STRETCH
  • Muscles stretched: Lower back
  • Technique: Lay on ground. Extend arms to sides. Lift one leg and keep it straight. Lay leg across body. Do both sides and hold stretch for at least 30 seconds
LOW BACK STRETCH
  • Muscles stretched: Lower back
  • Technique: Sit on floor with legs crossed. Lean forward as far as possible and hold for at least 30 seconds
HAMSTRING STRETCH
  • Muscles stretched: Lower back and hamstrings
  • Technique: Sit on floor with legs straightened and slightly spread. Lean forward as far as possible and hold for 30 seconds. Place legs together. Lean forward, grab toes, and hold for 30 seconds.
COBRA STRETCH
  • Muscles stretched: Lower back
  • Technique: Lie on stomach. Extend arms. Push pelvis forward and hold for at least 30 seconds.
DOWNWARD DOG STRETCH
  • Muscles stretched: Lower back and hamstrings
  • Technique: Get on all fours with legs straight. Flex at the waist as much as possible and hold for at least 30 seconds


BACK / CORE EXERCISES
DEADLIFT
  • Main muscles worked: Hamstring, glutes, lower back
  • Technique: Bend over and lower weight toward floor while keeping back straight. Knees should bend slightly.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Variation: May also be done while holding a dumbbell in each hand
GOOD MORNING LIFT
  • Main muscles worked: Hamstring, glutes, lower back
  • Technique: Place weight on shoulders and bend over while keeping back straight. Knees should bend slightly.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Variation: May also be done while holding dumbbells on shoulders
LUNGE WITH HYPEREXTENSION
  • Main muscles worked: Lower back, glutes, quadriceps,
  • Technique: Place one foot forward. Squat down. Raise up and hyperextend posterior leg.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10 reps on each leg
  • Variation: May also be done while holding a dumbbell in each hand
SUPERMAN EXERCISE
  • Main muscles worked: Back and glutes
  • Technique: Lie on stomach with arms to side and elbows bent to 90 degrees. Raise arms and legs off ground by flexing the back and gluteal muscles.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10 reps
SWIMMER EXERCISE
  • Main muscles worked: Back
  • Technique: Lie on stomach with arms extended above head. Move arms and legs up and down continuously to simulate a swimming motion.
  • Workout: Perform exercise for 30 seconds for one set. Do 4 sets.
FRONT INCLINE EXTENSION
  • Main muscles worked: Back
  • Technique: Position self in bench facing forward. Put hands behind head. Bend at waist and then extend backwards.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10
  • Variation: Hold a dumbbell or other weight to chest while performing exercise to increase resistance
SIDE INCLINE EXTENSION
  • Main muscles worked: Back and obliques
  • Technique: Position self in bench facing to one side. Put hands behind head. Bend at waist and then raise back up.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10 on each side
  • Variation: Hold a dumbbell or other weight to chest while performing exercise to increase resistance


ABDOMINAL EXERCISES
BICYCLE MANEUVER
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominal and hip flexors
  • Technique: Lie on back and place hands behind head. Reach right elbow toward left knee while extending right leg. Repeat exercise to the other side.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10 reps. One rep occurs after reaching toward both knees.
SIT-UP
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominal
  • Technique: Lie on back with knees bent. Do a sit-up. To increase difficulty, extend arms and legs and then perform a sit-up. Keep legs elevated off of ground the entire time. To make exercise even more difficult, hold weight in hands while performing maneuver.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 10 reps
SIDE TAPS
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominal and obliques
  • Technique: Sit up with knees bent. Turn and touch hand to side of body reaching as far back as possible. To increase difficulty, elevate feet off ground while performing exercise.
  • Workout: One rep occurs after touching both sides once. Do 4 sets of 10 reps.
L-CRUNCH
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominal
  • Technique: Lie on back with legs straight. Raise one leg to 90 degrees. Raise head and do crunch with arms straight to sides. To increase difficulty, elevate straightened leg while performing exercise.
  • Workout: Do 10 crunches with one leg raised, then switch legs and repeat. Do 4 sets on each leg.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBER
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominal
  • Technique: Get in a plank position. Bend one knee and flex hip. Alternate rapidly between legs.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of 20 reps. One rep occurs after one leg is flexed.
LOW PLANK
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominal and core
  • Technique: Get in a low plank position. Hold position.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of holding position for 30 - 60 seconds
SIDE PLANK
  • Main muscles worked: Abdominal and obliques
  • Technique: Get in a low side plank position. Hold position.
  • Workout: Do 4 sets of holding position on each side for 30 - 60 seconds