5 Essential Exercises for Lower Back Pain.
Most people know that doing specific exercises for the lower back has a high change of reducing the pain.
Fortunately there are hundreds of different exercises for the lower back. Unfortunately it can be difficult to determine what exercises to start with.
In this post I will give you a set of essential exercises which are easy to start with. These exercises I consider essential and are the ones I use the most with my clients:
- Pelvic Rotation
- Inner-Core Contraction
Remember: If an exercise gives you any pain, especially in the lower back, stop the exercise immediately You are allowed to feel tension, but no pain!
The pelvic rotation exercise is the exercise I start with in 99% of the cases. It’s important to be able to change the position of you pelvis in multiple daily activities (eg. lifting, sitting down..). Although the pelvic rotation occurs naturally in daily life, most people are not able to rotate their pelvis on command In order to do the more advanced exercises for the lower back, you need to be able to rotate your pelvis.
There are two ways do the pelvic rotation exercise: in supine position or seated. I advice you to start in supine position since it’s easier to control the movement that way.
Then just repeat step 2 and 3 slowly for at least 25 -50 times, but I would say as often as you want. Try to do the exercises as relaxed as you can do.
The importance of this exercise is that you’re able to put your pelvis in a neutral position. To get a neutral pelvic position, the lower back should be pressing a folded towel giving the towel barely enough space to move sideways.
As said you can do this exercise in a seated position, but then of course without a towel.
This exercise is great for people with a seated job because you can practically do this all day.
The inner-core or inner-unit is a set of muscle groups which are of major importance for the stabilization of your lower back and basically your whole body. A non-functional inner-core will almost always lead to complaints in some part of the body.
In later posts I will adress the inner-core muscles more thoroughly, but for now we stick to one exercise for working out the inner-core muscles.
|Lay down supine with your knees up and position your pelvis in a neutral position (See exercise 1).|
|Pull in your belly button while you maintain a normal breathing pattern. Do this for 10 seconds|
|Check your superficial muscles to make sure that they are not working to hard. You can check this by pressing your index finger down next to the bony point at the side of the belly button.|
Repeat this exercise 10 times (10 x 10 seconds with a 3 second break in between). This exercise can also be done in a seated position which is a great way to work out you inner-core if you sit allot during the day.
The key to this exercise is to be able to work out the deeper stabilizing muscles without letting the superficial muscles work to hard.
Both the pelvic rotation exercise and the inner-core exercise are the basis for later exercises.
The plank is a static exercise with multiple variations. The variation explained here is the standard plank.
|Lay down on your belly with your forearm right under you shoulders and you hands, palms down, pointing to the front. Activate your toes on the floor.|
|Lower yourself gently on the floor again before you release the tension around the lower back.|
As said in step 2, the two positions you should avoid:
Start by trying to maintain the position in step 2 for 10 seconds. Focus on keeping the whole body straight. You should feel tension both in the belly- as in the back muscles. The belly muscles will have to work harder though.
If you can easily control this position 4 x 10 seconds without pain, you could try to hold it for half a minute and later a minute. If 10 seconds is too hard, you could try this exercise on the elbows and knees instead of the toes.
Maybe you noticed that in order to do this exercise, you should be able to control your pelvic position. If you are not able to do this yet, I refer you to exercise number 1: Pelvic Rotation.
Where the plank exercise emphasizes the belly muscles, the bridge exercise emphasizes the lower back muscles.
|Push out. The pressure should be divided over your heels and shoulderblades (NOT THE NECK). Keep your body straight.|
Like the plank exercise, try to maintain the step 2 position for 10 seconds. Hold the body completely straight from knees to shoulders. Tension will be felt in the lower back, pain should not be felt.
If you can easily control this position 4 x 10 seconds without pain, you could try to hold it for half a minute and later a minute. Instead of keeping the hands next to your body, you could also raise your hands in the air, this will make it more difficult.
The superman is a great exercise to transfer from the stabilizing exercises above to the more active exercises later. The superman is all about controlled movements and needs to be done slowly.
|Get on all fours, hands right under the shoulders and knees right under the hips. Create a perfect ‘box’.|
|Start by raising one arm up, trying to keep your spine in exact the same position as in step 1. Do this alternating with both arms.|
|The same as with the arms, but now with the legs. Lift one leg up, but keep pointing the toes to the floor. Again, maintain a straight spine position.|
Try to maintain the positions in step 2-4 for 4 x 10 seconds. Then try to prolong this to 30 seconds and 1 minute before moving to the next step. Step 5 can be done by counting the touches. If you can do 50 of these without any difficulty you can say you master this exercise.
The superman is one of my favorite exercises because it acts like a bridge between the passive exercises to the more active ones without putting to much pressure on you lower back.
Now it’s up to you!
Here are your first set of 5 essential exercises. If you are serious about getting your lower back in shape again, then these exercises are perfect to start with. Remember: all of the more difficult exercises you will practice later will hughelly benefit by practicing these exercises.
If you get used to the exercises, all exercises can be done within 15 minutes. Don’t let time be an excuse, get started and let me know in the comments below how you like these exercises.