8 BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES TO HELP WITH LOWER BACK PAIN

8 BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES TO HELP WITH LOWER BACK PAIN

Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal issue in North America and has a major impact on mobility and quality of life. This pain can have several causes but the leading of which is our sedentary lifestyle combined with bad posture and weak core muscles. 

Too much sitting without maintaining a strong core causes important muscles and flexors to atrophy. This causes muscle inflammation as a result of your bones, ligaments and lumbar spine to compensate in bearing your weight. 

The result: A sore back, back spasms and overall creaky frame that will make you feel far older than your age. Thankfully, a focus on lower back stretches and exercises for lower back pain can help you reduce inflammation, regain your range of motion, and return some of the spring in your step.

Other causes of lower back pain include:

  • Ligament or muscle strain from heavy lifting or awkward movement
  • Bulging or ruptured disks
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis

Your core muscles include your abs, obliques, and erector spinae, and this area is also supported by the glutes. Core exercises help these muscle groups work in harmony and handle the wear and tear of everyday living.

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

When it comes to chronic pain, we always suggest seeing a doctor about pain management. This is important before starting a new exercise routine and especially if you are suffering from regular muscle spasms, or sharp or stabbing back pain. Your doctor may refer you to physical therapy if your issue needs expert support.

This guide is meant to support those with chronic, dull aching pain in the lower back.

Lower back pain appears in different ways. You need to take things slow when starting a new back workout exercise regimen. 

You will want to avoid any exercise that exacerbates your existing issues, and you will need to be able to identify the types of movements that make the pain in your lower back muscles worse. You can then develop a routine that is tangential to those trouble areas and slowly work to regain mobility throughout your entire core again.

Try these low impact corrective exercises that are gentle on your back while also effectively strengthening your core to work towards back pain relief.

EXERCISES FOR LOWER BACK PAIN

1. TABLETOP LEG PRESS

For those who don’t have practice “engaging their core,” this exercise is a great starting place. It also helps boost stability and strength.

Lie on your back with legs bent at 90 degrees, knees over hips, and place your hands on your quads. 

Push your back into the ground and keep your core tight. Push your hands into your quads, while simultaneously pushing your quads into your hands, without any visible movement in either. You should feel the tension in your core. 

Hold for 10-15 seconds before releasing.

2. BIRD DOG

Start on all fours, putting your wrists under your shoulders and knees directly under the hips.

One at a time, lift one arm and the opposite leg until they’re straight and parallel to the floor. Squeezing your glutes will help.

Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

3. GLUTE BRIDGE

Straighten one leg, keeping your thighs parallel to each other. Use your heels to lift your hips and squeeze your glutes. 

Hold for 2-3 seconds, then lower your leg. Alternate several times with both legs!

Variation: Glute Bridge Single-Leg Progression

4. DEAD BUG

Same Side or Opposite Side (Arm/Leg) – Dead Bug Exercise

This exercise works both the abominable muscles and your hip flexors.

Lie on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and legs bent at 90 degrees, knees over hips. Slowly extend your right leg straight without touching the ground, while simultaneously lowering your left arm to be straight above your head. Then return to the starting position and alternate several times on each side.

5. PLANK

Planks are a solid basis for any bodyweight workout routine. Planks strengthen not just your core, but your entire body. 

Your basic forearm plank is more challenging than being on your hands. Keep your forearms flat on the ground beneath you with elbows under your shoulder and neck in a neutral position. 

Press your elbows directly into the ground and squeeze your core and glutes.

Hold for upwards of 10 seconds.

Variation: Side Plank

A wonderful way to blast your obliques. Start on your side and place one forearm down with elbow below your shoulder and perform the same hold as a standard plank. Repeat on the other side.

6. BACK EXTENSION

This “reverse plank” helps strengthen your back, however, proper form is incredibly important, so you don’t injure yourself. 

Lay down flat on your stomach with your arms in front of you. Raise both your arms and legs off the ground and hold for a few sections. 

You should feel your back, glutes, and hamstrings working. Return to the ground and repeat several times.

Be sure to keep your head in a neutral position and look down. You should not feel strain in your neck.

7. LUNGE

Reverse Lunge

The lunge is a great move for bodyweight beginners. Along with working your hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, it also impacts your inner thighs.

With your core engaged and back straight, keep your feet hip-width apart and take a big step forward with your right leg. 

You should be lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. This ensures your knee does not bend past your toes. Use the power of your right heel to drive back up, and then alternate. 

Variation: Reverse Lunge

This variation of the standard lunge is a bit easier on the knees. Take a big step backward with your right leg while lowering down with your other knee. 

Try to bring the knee of your right leg all the way to ground, then use your front heel to return to starting position and alternate.

Variation: Walking Lunge

Find a hallway and lunge your way into a better body. Keeping your back straight, lunge forward with one leg, ensuring the knee on the opposite leg does NOT touch the floor. 

Use the heel of the forward foot to propel your body into the next lunge, leading with the opposite foot. 

Variation: Side Lunge

Start with your legs together, then extend your right leg with a big step to the side. 

Placing your foot flat on the floor with feet facing forward, shift weight onto your right heel and bend your right knee while keeping your arms extended for balance. Then return to neutral and alternate. 

8. CLAMSHELL

This gentle stretch exercise helps stabilize your pelvis and hips and strengthens your glutes.

Lie on your left side with your elbow bent. Support your head with your left hand. Bend your legs at 45 degrees and stack your right leg and foot on top of the left. Keep your feet touching. Driving movement from your glutes, lift your right knee to the ceiling. Lower back down and repeat for 10 before switching over to your right side. 

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