How Do You Strengthen Your Lower Back?

Medically Reviewed on 2/26/2021
Exercise regularly and keep the back and abdominal (belly) muscles strong.
Exercise regularly and keep the back and abdominal (belly) muscles strong.

Below are a few ways to strengthen the lower back:

  • Exercise regularly and keep the back and abdominal (belly) muscles strong.
  • Do not sit for long. You can take short breaks to walk around after every 30-40 minutes of sitting.
  • Another way to give the lower back a boost is to learn how to stretch it.
  • A great technique for strengthening the back is to get regular chiropractic care. Often, the vertebrae (the backbone or bones of the spine) get a bit out of alignment. When this happens, it can cause pain, stiffness, and other negative side effects. A chiropractor may be able to align those misalignments, getting rid of the negative symptoms and strengthening the back’s natural functions.
  • Last but most effective would be physical therapy programs.

Stretching:

It allows releasing the tension in the back. Performing either of the following stretches daily can improve the range of motion in your back, strengthening the muscles in your lower back.

  • Cat-cow combo: To perform this, get on your hands and knees with your back parallel to the ground. Then, arch your back upward (think of a cat stretching) and dip your back downward (think of a cow’s natural swaying back). Hold each position for a few seconds and then switch.
  • Cobra stretch: To perform this, lie flat on your stomach. Then, slowly push your head and chest toward the sky, keeping your palms on the ground in line with your shoulders, and without lifting your pelvis off the floor.

Exercises:

To build the muscles in the lower back, buy hand weights and look up exercises that are specifically targeted at the back muscles. Once you master the moves, add weight to keep it challenging. It can also be helpful to strengthen the core. When the core is strong, it takes strain and pressure from the back. To build the core, perform exercises, such as crunches, leg lifts, planks, and sit-ups. Common exercises may include:

Bottom to heel:

  • Kneel on all fours while trying to keep your back and neck straight but don't lock your elbows. Slowly move your bottom backward to meet your heels.
  • Hold the stretch for a deep breath and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Cat and dog:

  • Kneel on all fours and arch your back upward while dropping your chin to your chest. 
  • Then, drop your stomach and lift your head, tilting your pelvis as you do so. Repeat 10 times.

Child’s pose:

  • Sit back on your heels with your arms stretched forward and palms down.
  • Work your hands as far away from you as you can, using your fingers to pull your hands along. Now take a deep breath in and out.

Bridges:

  • Bridges are excellent in strengthening your lower back. To do this, lie on your back and keep your arms by the sides.
  • With the help of your arms, raise the lower part of your body and ensure that it is in a straight line from the shoulders to the knees.
  • Hold this for some time then resume your original position.
  • Repeat this about 15 times in a minute.

Superman’s:

  • Lie face down on an exercise mat with your toes pointed down and your forehead on the floor.
  • Keep your gaze at a neutral position.
  • Bring your arms straight out in front of you with your palms on the floor.
  • Engaging your back, glutes, and hamstrings, lift your hands and feet a few inch off the ground.
  • Repeat 10 times, holding the position for 3-5 seconds each time. 
  • As you lift your arms and legs from the floor, be sure to pull your shoulders down and back.
  • Inhale as you lift your body and exhale as you lower it.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/26/2021
References
Princeton University. Lumbar/Core Strength and Stability Exercises. https://uhs.princeton.edu/sites/uhs/files/documents/Lumbar.pdf