How to strengthen the lower back

What exercises help with lower back pain?

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What exercises help with lower back pain?

Aerobic exercise strengthens your lungs, heart, and blood vessels and can help you lose weight. Walking, swimming, and biking may all help reduce back pain. Start with short sessions and build up over time. If your back is hurting, try swimming, where the water supports your body.

How to strengthen the lower back

According to researchers Trusted Source, exercise also increases blood flow to the lower back area, which may reduce stiffness and speed up the healing process.

Below, we explain how to do 10 exercises that strengthen the lower back and may help people manage lower back pain:

1. Bridges

Bridges work a person’s gluteus maximus, which is the large muscle of the buttocks. People engage this muscle when they move their hips, particularly when they bend into a squat.

The gluteus maximus is one of the most important muscles in the body, and keeping it strong can help support the lower back.

To perform a bridge:

  • Lie on the ground and bend the knees, placing the feet flat on the floor hip-width apart.
  • Press the feet into the floor, keeping the arms by the sides.
  • Raise the buttocks off the ground until the body forms a straight line from the shoulders to the knees.
  • Squeeze the buttocks with the shoulders remaining on the floor.
  • Lower the buttocks to the ground and rest for a few seconds.
  • Repeat 15 times and then rest for 1 minute.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

2. Knee-to-chest stretches

Doing a knee-to-chest stretch can help elongate the lower back, relieving tension and pain.

To perform the knee-to-chest stretch:

  • Lie on the back on the floor.
  • Bend the knees, keeping both feet flat on the floor.
  • Use both hands to pull one knee in toward the chest.
  • Hold the knee against the chest for 5 seconds, keeping the abdominals tight and pressing the spine into the floor.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Repeat with each leg 2–3 times twice a day.

3. Lower back rotational stretches

The lower back rotational stretch can help relieve tension in the lower back and trunk. It also gently works the core muscles to improve stability.

To perform the lower back rotational stretch:

  • Lie back on the floor with bent knees and feet flat on the ground.
  • Keeping the shoulders firmly on the floor, gently roll both bent knees over to one side.
  • Hold the position for 5–10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Gently roll the bent knees over to the opposite side, hold, and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 2–3 times on each side twice a day.

4. Draw-in maneuvers

The draw-in maneuver works the transversus abdominis. This muscle is on the front and side of the abdomen, stabilizing the spine and lower back region.

To perform the draw-in maneuver:

  • Lie back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat, keeping the arms by the sides.
  • Breathe in deeply.
  • While breathing out, pull the bellybutton toward the spine, tightening the abdominal muscles and keeping the hips still.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.

5. Pelvic tilts

The pelvic tilt exercise can release tight back muscles and keep them flexible.

To perform this lower back flexibility exercise:

  • Lie back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat, keeping the arms by the sides.
  • Gently arch the lower back and push the stomach out.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Flatten the back and pull the bellybutton in toward the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  • Increase the number of repetitions daily, building up to 30.

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