Fight Lower Back Pain with These Simple Exercises

Lower back pain is something you’ve probably experienced at some point in your life. If you haven’t, you will likely experience it somewhere along the way. Every day, you lift and carry heavy objects, and find yourself doing activities which can cause back pain. The truth is you can enjoy all your favorite activities and lift the heavy items you want and need to without causing back pain. The solution is found in three simple lower back exercises that you can do at home which will increase your core’s stability, improve your hip mobility, and boost your lower body strength. When you improve these three, you protect yourself from lower back pain.

Core Stability

Simply stated, your spine is dependent on your core for its stability. If your core muscles are weak, and you lift or move in a certain way, your spine fails to get the support it needs, and all the pressure gets transferred to your lower back. When you use your core muscles to lift large, heavy objects the work is divided between your upper, middle, and lower back along with your abdominals.

To increase your core stability, try the low plank. You may be familiar with the low plank, after all a lot has been written about it lately. The low plank is a great exercise for your lower back which engages and stabilizes your core. To perform the low plank:

  • Place your forearms on the floor, parallel with one another, and your hands flat and your shoulders directly over your elbows.
  • Place your feet firmly for support.
  • Raise your body, holding it steady.
  • Keep your shoulders, hips and feet aligned.
  • Tighten your abdominals, holding the position for 30 seconds.
  • Lower you body for a quick break.
  • Repeat twice more.

Improve your Hip Mobility

If you don’t have a full range of motion in your hips, when you pick up items from the floor, your back arches as you lean forward, putting all the pressure on your lower back. The solution: squats, simple stretches which increase your flexibility and allow you to lift heavy objects correctly, without causing damage to your lower back. These squats are known as goblet squats because the position in which you hold the weights. To perform these squats:

  • Hold a 20-pound dumbbell (if this is too much for you as you begin, lower the weight, if it feels to light raise it to no more than 50-pounds) like a goblet with your hands toward your chest.
  • Stand with legs apart, wider than your hips.
  • Turn your toes toward 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock respectively.
  • Drop you buttocks behind as you move your knees in the direction of your toes, allowing the dumbbell to help you balance.
  • Keep your spine straight during the squat, dropping your buttocks until it feels like your lower back is about to bend.
  • Return to the original position.
  • Repeat for 15 repetitions, rest, and repeat for an additional set of 15.

Boost Your Lower Body Strength

The final exercise helps you focus on lifting with your legs and your gluteal muscles (glutes). Strengthening your glutes keeps the pressure off your lower back. Step-up exercises are designed to engage your glutes and your quadriceps, effectively strengthening your lower body, and allowing you to lift and carry whatever you need to easily. Step-ups also workout your core, keeping you stable as you go. To perform Step-ups:

  • Select a stable bench or box (8 to 12 inches high). (It must be able to support your body weight.)
  • Place your right foot on the bench or box.
  • Lift your left foot off the floor to meet the right, keeping the bulk of your weight on your right foot.
  • Without moving your right foot, return your left foot to the floor.
  • Repeat 15 repetitions on this leg.
  • Switch and repeat 15 repetitions more.

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