7 Great Exercises To Strengthen Your Lower Back

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Man on yoga mat

Do you ever find it difficult to bend forward? Have you noticed yourself rubbing your achy, lower back lately? How about wishing you could lift your little one, a suitcase, or even a bag of groceries more easily? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you might need to work on your core and lower back strength.

Core strength is important for everyone. Strong core muscles not only make regular movement easier, but they improve your posture, and most importantly, protect your lower back muscles.

Enter the Anytime Fitness App, a veritable pocket personal trainer. Not only will it remind you, encourage you, and give you lots of information on how to get up and get moving but it has targeted exercises to strengthen lower back muscles and reduce back pain.

*DISCLAIMER: For those experiencing persistent or strong pain in their backs, consult your physician or physical therapist before beginning a workout routine. And if you experience back pain during this or any workout, discontinue the activity until consulting with a health care professional.

Lower Back Strengthening Workout

Reps: 10 | Sets: 2 per exercise | Load: Bodyweight | Rest: 60 seconds between sets

Back Extension

man on exercise ball doing back extension

This exercise not only strengthens your core and lower back, but if you position your feet against a wall, it creates more tension and strengthens your hamstrings and glutes.

  • Starting position: Lie face down with your hips and chest hugging a fitness ball, arms crossed, and legs straight out behind you.
  • Raise your chest up off the ball, shoulder blades toward the sky, hold for one breath, then repeat. You could open your arms to fly here if it assists you in the lift, just don’t use that motion as momentum.
    • To do a proper back extension, resist bouncing up and down on the ball as you perform each rep.

Quad Superman

woman doing quad superman

These arm and leg lifts are classics in the family of Superman exercises that help stabilize your core muscles, strengthen your spine and low back (not to mention your gluteus maximus.) Be sure to keep your pelvis square, neck long, and elbows soft.

  • Begin on all fours.
  • Raise your right arm and left leg straight up to shoulder height, then slowly lower both back to the ground.
  • Raise your left arm and right leg straight up to shoulder height, then slowly lower both back to the ground.

Repeat exercise for ten reps.

One Leg Front Bridge

man doing one leg front bridge

This one requires a little extra stability, and not only is it great for your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes, but it strengthens your upper body too.

  • Starting position: Support your body with your toes on the floor and your hands on a ball directly under your chest. Stomach tight, arms straight, pelvis square.
  • Raise your right leg straight up off the floor about 12 inches, keeping your body in a straight line and your back in a flat, neutral position, then bring your toes back down to the floor.

Complete all leg lifts on the right leg before switching to the left leg.

Y Extension

woman doing y extension

For this exercise keep a neutral spine, (no arching), and a tucked chin with a straight neck.

  • Lie face down with your chest, stomach, and hips on the ball, your arms draped over the ball with the backs of your hands to the sky, and your legs straight out behind you.
  • Raise your chest up off the ball, coming to an upright position, and bring your arms up and out to form a big Y while turning the backs of your hands out, thumbs pointing to the sky.

Be sure not to bounce up and down on the ball as you do each rep.

Extensions

man doing back extension

This lower back machine assists in one of those simple exercises that perfectly targets the erector spinae muscles on both sides of the lower back. It’s one of a few variations on the popular Superman exercises that utilizes one larger movement.

  • Lay on a back extension machine with your thighs pressed tightly against the pads, and your hip flexors just above the pads. Bend at the waist with your arms crossed over your chest as you lower down.
  • Raise your upper body to a full, upright position. (Your back may feel fatigued but you should not experience back pain.) Hold for one breath, then repeat.

Note: If you don’t have access to one of these exercise machines, you can use a Swiss ball.

Modified Superman

woman doing modified superman

This reverse leg press is another in the family of Superman exercises, but it’s done on the floor.

  • Starting position: Lie face down, hips on the floor, legs straight, arms by your sides, and palms up.
  • Keeping your belly button on the floor, raise your upper body, arms, and legs all together, about 18 inches, for a count of about 2 seconds. Take care not to look up and hyperextend your neck but rather keep your chin tucked with a straight neck.
  • Hold this position for about 2 seconds, then lower yourself back to the floor and repeat.

One of the variations for your arms is to place your forehead on the backs of your hands. But no matter how you do them, these Superman back extensions are the best friend of the erector spinae and posterior chain family of muscles that support spinal posture and mobility.

Front Bridge to T

man doing front bridge to T

This one is practically a dance move, but don’t let that scare you if you’re not a dancer. It doubles as an excellent back, shoulder, abdominal and thigh workout.

  • Start in a top-of-a-push-up position, hips square, belly button facing the ground, elbows soft, and neck in line with your spine.
  • Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, take a deep breath as one hand stretches up toward the sky while you rotate your body to the same side, looking up at your hand. Make sure your feet collapse and stagger simultaneously as you roll.
  • Hold, then lower your hand back to the floor and repeat, twisting up to the other side.
  • Alternate sides with each rep. (You’ll likely find this to be an aerobic exercise too!)

Do these exercises regularly and in no time you will become a powerful lower back machine!

Find more information and workouts like this in the Anytime Fitness App*.

*Free for all members on iOS and Android devices. 

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