Your back is made up of large muscle groups that work together to support your body and enable you to move in a range of directions. Therefore, it is important that your back muscles, particularly your lower back muscles, remain strong and flexible. This can be achieved through regular lower back exercises, with and without weights or other home gym equipment.
Unlike other muscle groups such as your hamstring, adductors (inner thigh) and quadriceps, your back muscles aren’t used as much for everyday activity and can remain inactive as a result. That’s why it’s one of the most common injuries in training.
If your lower back muscles remain immobile, they can weaken, especially as you get older. This is why it’s important to remain active and include lower back exercises in your workout regime to help prevent injury in the first place.
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Lower Back Home Exercises – No Equipment
Aside from exercises, stretching is equally as effective for strengthening the lower back. Regardless, you should be stretching before and after a workout, as this helps minimise muscle fatigue and increases blood circulation.
The majority of lower back exercises will require a fitness mat or soft cushioning to avoid direct back-to-floor contact, as this can be very uncomfortable.
1. Knee Rolls
- Lie flat on your back with your knees upright and bent together.
- Keeping your upper body flat and stationary, roll your knees over to the left and hold for 3 seconds, return to the starting position and repeat to the right.
- Complete 8-10 repetitions of this exercise (both sides).
2. Quad Superman
Start on all fours with your hands and knees on the floor.
- Raise your right arm and left leg to shoulder height, slowly lower your arm and leg, so you’re back at the starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg.
- Complete 8-10 repetitions (both sides), and don’t worry about your coordination; you’ll get the hang of it.
3. Quad Hip Extension
Again, start on all fours with your hands and knees on the floor.
- Raise your left arm – shoulder height and leg straight, lower your leg and repeat with your right leg.
- Complete 8-10 times (both sides).
Top tip! This exercise also strengthens your glutes and hamstrings, which will support your lower back muscles.
4. Lower Back Extension
Lie on your front, resting on your forearms with your elbows tucked in.
- Raise your head and arch your back upright, hold the position for 5 seconds and return to the start.
- Complete this exercise 8-10 times.
- If you want to challenge yourself, place your hands at the side of your head. After raising your head, raise your shoulders and upper chest off the floor whilst arching your back.
- Begin face down, resting your body on your forearms and toes. Your elbows should be tucked in, forearms shoulder-width apart, and back straight.
- Hold this position for as long as possible, but aim for 30 seconds, to begin with, increasing to 45 seconds, 60 seconds and so on.
Lower Back Home Exercises – With Equipment
1. Back Extension using an Exercise Ball
- Lie face down with your chest resting on the exercise ball, place your hands at the side of your head and position your legs straight.
- Carefully raise your chest off the exercise ball to an upright position, lower your chest and repeat between 8-10 times.
- It’s important that your lower body and exercise ball remain stationary, so you’re able to hold position more firmly.
2. Superman BOSU
- Lie flat on the BOSU with your arms and legs stretched out, touching the floor.
- Raise your upper body (arms) and legs together to create the classic Superman position.
- Hold up to 5 seconds; lower your arms and legs.
- Repeat this exercise 8-10 times.
3. Good Morning with Barbell
- Position yourself in a standing, upright position with a barbell resting on the back of your shoulders (your feet should be shoulder-width apart).
- Keeping your back in a neutral position and legs straight, bend over at the hips.
- Return to the upright position and repeat this exercise 8-10 times.
- Aim to use lighter weights to avoid injury.
4. Deadlifts with Barbell
- Place the barbell on the floor and stand in front of it.
- Similar to the squat position, bend down from the knees and lean your chest forward, take hold of the barbell, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Whilst keeping your back straight, lift the barbell until you reach the upright position.
- Slowly and carefully lower the barbell by bending the knees whilst leaning forward and keeping your hips back.
When you are exercising, especially focusing on your back, there are still precautions to take to keep things safe. If these are a little difficult, or you want some variation, yoga can be a good place to start too. See what works best for you.
It’s important to visit your GP if you’re suffering from lower back pain and it’s not easing off after a few weeks or if exercising triggers the pain. If you’re suffering from any back pain, speak to a professional before performing the above exercises and any additional ones.
For more info, take a look at this NHS link.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.