The title says it all. Never ever neglect your lower back!
Your lower back needs to be strong in order for you to function optimally in and out of the gym. With the right set of exercises performed several times a week, you have nothing to fear.
Try some of these on for size and make sure to focus on proper form
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Faulty mechanics can get you injured and lead to chronic, debilitating pain. Follow my instructions to a ‘T’ and you’ll be just fine.
1. Contralateral Birddogs
The birddog is one of my favorite drills for the lower back. You also work your glutes, hamstrings and shoulders in one fell swoop.
When you make them dynamic by alternating each side, you ignite the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which leads to better mental acuity as well. This is always the case with cross-body patterns.
1. Start in a quadruped position on the floor with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.
2. Keeping your torso still and core tight, extend your right arm and left leg until you form a straight line from your fingers to your heel.
3. Hold for a second, lower your limbs and repeat on the other side.
4. Continue to alternate back and forth. Make sure your arm and leg are parallel to the floor when you extend them.
This exercise is similar to a push-up but less intense.
1. Begin in a lying position on your stomach with your hands right under your shoulders and elbows tight to your sides. Keep your hips on the floor and push yourself up until your arms are fully extended.
2. Arch your back as you do this and look up at about a 45-degree angle. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat for a set of reps.
3. Make sure to exhale as you push up and inhale on the way down.
3. Back Extensions with Twist
You may also here these referred to as hyperextensions, but they’re one and the same. By adding a twist to this exercise, you will improve the rotational ability in your spine.
Don’t be afraid of moving better! The worst that can happen is you’ll end up with stronger and suppler spine.
You will need a back extension bench to do these.
1. Assume a position where the backs of your lower legs are pressed against the bottom support pad and your hips are pressed against the upper support.
2. Place your hands on the sides of your head and fold forward at the hips.
3. Go as low as you can, then bend all the way back up. Once you are about to the top, twist to one side and hold for a second.
4. Twist back to center, lower yourself down and rise back up.
5. Twist to the other side and continue to alternate back and forth with each rep.
A hip bridge can be done statically or dynamic. I’ll let you choose which one you want to do. Both are effective at strengthening your lower back.
1. Start by lying on the floor in a face up position with your knees bent and feet flat.
2. Place your arms by your sides with your palms down. Press your feet into the floor as you raise your hips as high as possible.
3. Make sure to focus on using your lower back muscles to create this movement. For anatomy’s sake, these are called the erector spinae.
4. Squeeze your glutes forcefully at the top for a full second and lower yourself down.
5. Repeat for a series of reps.
For the static version, simply raise your hips and hold the bridge for 20 to 30 seconds.
Now you have a few exercises to add to your back pain prevention plan. You can do three of these at home without the use of any equipment.
However, if you own a stability ball, you can use that in place of a back extension bench for the back extension with twist. Just be aware that you might need to brace your feet against a wall so you don’t slide around .
Let me know if you have any questions and good luck!
Connect with Expert Kevin Rail.