Looking for help for lower back pain? Here are four easy exercises to strengthen your back muscles which results in less injury and more flexibility.
This exercise stretches your hip flexors and will help to stabilize your spine by strengthening the muscles surrounding it. These muscle groups include abdominal, gluteal and lower back.
- Directions: Beginning on your back, bring your feet flat with knees bent, hip width apart. Keep your arms at your side. Lift your hips up and squeeze your buttocks together at the same time. Hold for two counts, slowly lower down. Repeat, up to 10-12 times.
- Advanced: While on your back, take one leg and lift it straight up with your foot flexed. Try to keep your hips evenly aligned. Hold this pose on each leg for a few seconds, building up to a set of five to eight repetitions.
This move will help you to increase your strength and balance, as well as tone your back, hamstrings and glutes, a great help for lower back pain.
- Directions: Start on all fours with your knees hip-distance apart and knees under hips. Your hands should be flat on the ground and placed on the ground directly under your shoulders. Squeeze your abdominals and pull them towards the sky. Keep your spine in a neutral position and extend your right leg straight back and your left arm straight forward, hold for a few seconds or as long as you can while maintaining a straight line. Change to your other arm and leg. Repeat on each side five to six times.
- Advanced: You can make this exercise more difficult by extending the time you hold the pose. You can also raise and lower the arm and leg slightly, but do not arch your back to do this move.
The side plank offers help for lower back pain by strengthening your core to increase strength and endurance. A strong core helps to keep your lower back stable.
- Directions: Lying on either your left or right side, rest on your forearm. Make sure your elbow is under your shoulder to prevent arm injuries. Squeeze your abdomen and lift your hips up, maintaining a straight line with hips, spine and neck. Try to hold for 20 to 40 seconds, lower down. Repeat on alternate side. You can also bend the knee of the leg closest to the ground for more stabilization.
- Advanced: As you build core strength, you will be able to lift your top leg toward the sky. Hold pose for 5 to 10 seconds at a time and slowly lower. Another way to increase the intensity of this exercise is to balance yourself on your hand rather than your forearm. Raise your other arm towards the ceiling.
Lunges work all parts of your body by calling on deeper muscles that help to keep your spine healthy during daily tasks like walking or stairs.
- Directions: Put your hands on your hips and take a large step forward with your right or left foot. Make sure it's a larger than normal step and that you are contracting your abdominal muscles. Sink towards the ground, bending your forward leg. Try to have your bent leg at a 90 degree angle. Push back upwards, repeating up to 12 times per leg. Change legs and repeat.
- Advanced: You can increase the intensity of this exercise by stepping out diagonally, rather than forward. Balancing is a little more difficult. If this is not challenging enough, join your hands together behind your head while doing a lunge or increase resistance by adding weights.