Lower back exercises can be performed just about anywhere, and are a great way to strengthen and define your lower back muscles.
The lower back muscles are responsible for supporting your spine and keeping your torso straight. They’re a large group of muscles, however, and there are several regions within the lower back that are trained during different exercises.
This article is designed to give you a variety of options for building the foundation of strength and flexibility in your spine. The lower back is made up of a group of muscles called the erector spinae.
These muscles include the longissimus, iliocostalis and spinalis, transversi, and tuberis. They are responsible for stabilizing the lower back and controlling movement in other areas.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the 5 best lower back bodyweight exercises and give you some tips on how to incorporate them into a routine.
Lower Back Bodyweight Exercises
The plank exercise is an essential core stability technique used to improve posture and balance. It improves abdominal strength, and shoulder flexibility and develops strength in your abdominals and hip flexors. It’s a great way to strengthen any muscle groups in your midsection.
The plank is also one of the best upper body exercises for increasing endurance and burning fat given that it doesn’t use much energy for movement or cardiovascular work.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Get into a push-up position on the floor, making sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your feet are hip-width apart.
- Engage your abs and glutes, and raise your body off the floor so that only your toes and forearms are touching the ground.
- Hold this position for as long as you can, making sure to keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
- To make this exercise more challenging, you can raise one leg off the ground or put your hands on an unstable surface like a medicine ball or Bosu ball.
Plank exercises are a classic beginner exercise. They’re effective at working your core, and they can help improve your posture as well. What’s more, as you advance in your training, you can add on different variations and challenges to keep yourself from getting bored.
From overhead planks to side planks, to walking planks, there is a near-endless amount of different exercises for you to try, each of which will work slightly different muscles in your core and even other muscles throughout your entire body.
Push Up Plank
The push up plank is a great exercise for building strength and flexibility. It’s a superb exercise for your arms, toning and shaping your chest, shoulders, abs, glutes & quads as well as helping to improve your grip strength.
The push-up plank is also great for building core strength, which will help you stay stable as you progress through more difficult challenges in your training program.
To do this exercise:
- Start in a forearm plank position, with your elbows lowered to the mat.
- Use your core muscles to keep your hips as still as possible. Push up off of one hand, placing it where your elbow just was.
- Then push up off of your other hand, so that you are at the top of a push-up with your legs extended and engaged behind you. Squeeze your buttocks for stability.
- Lower back down to your elbows, one arm at a time.
- Finish the exercise by repeating with alternating arms. Change which arm is leading to ensure equal work on both sides.
The Push Up Plank is a simple push up variation that is great for beginners or anyone looking to increase their time under load. It will emphasize your oblique engagement and teach your body to contract your core muscles in addition to performing the standard plank movement.
Bird dog is a movement commonly used to practice the core. Bird Dog Exercise is your best way to stay fit and healthy. It’s a series of on-feet exercises that can help in increasing your blood volume, enhancing overall balance, and working on improving your coordination.
This exercise helps in strengthening and stabilizing the abdominal muscles and increase flexibility.
To do proper bird dog excercise:
- Get on all fours with your hands placed directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
- Keep your spine in a neutral position and engage your core muscles.
- Raise your right arm and left leg off the ground, extending them parallel to the ground.
- Keep your head in line with your spine and gaze at the floor about 6 to 12 inches in front of you.
- Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg.
- Repeat the movement for 10 to 20 repetitions.
Bird dog is an abdominal and back exercise that involves curling the body forward while simultaneously extending involving the abs, hips, shoulders and lower back.
It targets the rectus abdominis along with the obliques and another muscle called transversus abdominis. Bird dog core exercise is one of the best full-body ab exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
This exercise works multiple muscles in the back, as well as provides an exercise for the spine. These muscles include the rhomboids and middle trapezius, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, teres major and minor, infraspinatus and teres minor, the posterior deltoid, and the gluteus medius.
This exercise targets the area opposite of how you bend, thus stretching out the lumbar region and taking pressure off of any vertebral discs (that contain most of our spinal fluid). This exercise can be done by anyone at any age as it is not considered dangerous if done properly.
To do this exercise:
- Lie flat on your stomach with your legs outstretched and hands resting palm down underneath your thighs.
- Bend forward from the waist so that your upper body is parallel to the ground.
- Raise your upper body as far as you can by contracting the muscles in your lower back. Concentrate on going as high as possible and maintaining a slight arch in your lower back; do not round your back. Breathe out as you perform this step.
- Hold for a second at the top of the contraction, then slowly lower your upper body back down to the starting position as you breathe in. Repeat the movement for 10–12 repetitions.
This exercise will help strengthen the entire group of muscles along the spine, and it can help you reach your fitness goals. It strengthens your core and your back, and most importantly it is a vital part of any exercise program.
This is a highly effective back extension workout that begins with basic moves that anyone who wants to get a stronger back should be able to perform. This type of exercise will keep you more aware of your posture throughout the day and improve your posture by strengthening your core.
The Cat Camel Exercise is one of the most effective exercises you can use to relieve your lower back pain. It helps to improve your core muscles and stretches the ligaments that stabilize your spine.
The cat camel exercise is a great way to warm up your calves before doing step aerobics or the treadmill.
Here is how you do a Cat camel exercise:
- Start on all fours with your knees beneath your hips and your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Tuck your chin to your chest and slowly round your back up toward the ceiling, contracting your abs. Allow your head to drop down and tuck your chin to your chest.
- Return to the starting position and then arch your back, extending it toward the ceiling. Allow your head and gaze to follow your back up.
- Return to the starting position and repeat the movement.
The Cat Camel is a great exercise for an active start to the day, a warm-up before a workout, and to help alleviate low back pain. The Cat-Camel helps to reduce inflammation and brings much-needed hydration and nutrients to the disc materials of the spine.
This exercise is also great for the mobility of the spine and the activation of key spinal stabilizing muscles.
Lower back bodyweight exercises provide an effective way to stretch and strengthen the large muscle in the lower back, the erector spinae, as well as the surrounding muscles.
These muscles on either side of the spine help us stay upright and tall, carry items on our shoulders, and balance our posture. Bodyweight exercises for lower back pain are easy to perform, don’t require much equipment, and can even be performed at work or home without needing additional space.
There are many levels of exercise and it would be a mistake to pigeonhole all exercises as equal in terms of the benefit they offer (and the degree of workout they require).
You need to make sure that you are not missing out on certain exercises because you have bought into some outdated or unfounded idea about what constitutes an appropriate form of exercise.
It’s important to ensure that the ideas you have about doing exercise are based on sound reasoning. If you follow these principles, the results will be rapid and they will come with no undue fatigue or stress.