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Essential Exercises For A Stronger Lower Back

We've said it before and we will say it again: Low back pain can be a debilitating condition.

While there are hundreds of articles out there about how to exercise with low back pain, the importance of exercising for back pain can't be emphasized enough. Low back pain can seem simple and silly but it's ability to significantly affect your life, to impact your ability to perform even the simplest of daily activities, and prevent you from enjoying life to the fullest should not be underestimated.

By incorporating these targeted essential exercises for a stronger lower back into your routine you can strengthen the muscles surrounding your lower back, alleviate pain, and improve overall stability.

In this comprehensive guide we'll explore evidence-based exercises recommended by healthcare professionals to support a stronger lower back and provide you with some actionable tips to help you find relief from low back pain. Let's check them out!

Your back muscles play a major role in supporting your spine.

Understanding the Importance of Lower Back Strength

The lower back, or lumbar region, plays a vital role in supporting the spine and facilitating movement. Weakness in the muscles surrounding the lower back can contribute to instability, poor posture, and increased risk of injury.

Recent clinical evidence supports the use of strengthening exercises for low back pain relief. A major meta analysis published in the BMJ reviewed almost 100 different clinical trials and concluded that "...Pilates, stabilisation/motor control, resistance training and aerobic exercise training are the most effective treatments, pending outcome of interest, for adults with NSCLBP. Exercise training may also be more effective than therapist hands-on treatment".

strength exercises for back pain can have many forms

What Exercises Can Help?

By incorporating exercises that target these muscles, you can enhance strength, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of low back pain episodes. These don't have to be specific to Pilates or strength training. In fact, many of the most effective strengthening exercises don't require you to sign up for any special classes.

Keep reading to see what type of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home to strengthen your lower back and support your spine.

The bridge exercise is a simple but effective exercise for back pain prevention.

Essential Exercises for A Stronger Lower Back

1. Bridge Exercise

When it comes to exercises for low back pain relief it is helpful to make a distinction between exercises that specifically strengthen the muscles that support the spine and ones that can be used for endurance and long term support.

A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy looked at EMG results for different exercises to see which ones would be most beneficial for "rehabilitation programs for the spine, hip, and knee".

After studying a variety of exercise like side bridges, prone bridges, and hip abduction bridges, the researchers concluded that overall, bridge exercises are effective in improving lower back strength and reducing pain in individuals with chronic low back pain.

LivaFortis looks at how to do a bridge exercise for back pain relief.

How To Perform a Bridge Exercise For Back Pain

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.

  • Engage your core muscles and lift your hips off the floor, creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down.

  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

The bird dog exercise is one of the best exercises for back pain prevention and management.

2. Bird Dog Exercise

As recently as 2023, researchers still hold that the Bird Dog exercise is "one of the most effective therapeutic exercises" for low back pain prevention and management.

Research published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science demonstrated that bird dog exercises can improve lumbar stability and reduce low back pain in individuals with chronic non-specific low back pain.

Bird dog exercises can improve lumbar stability and prevent low back pain.

How To Perform The Bird Dog Exercise

  • Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

  • Extend your right arm forward and your left leg backward, keeping your hips and shoulders parallel to the floor.

  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position.

  • Repeat on the opposite side.

  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.

the dead bug exercise is great for strengthening your deep abdominal muscles.

3. Dead Bug Exercise

Don't let the name put you off this awesome exercise! The dead bug exercise (also sometimes known as the dying bug exercise) is a simple but highly effective way to engage your deep abdominal muscles while not putting too much pressure on your spine.

Research from a study published in the Journal Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science looked at EMG activity to see how well the abdominal muscles were being engaged and activated when participants were performing the dead bug exercise. The researchers found that dead bug exercises were highly effective in activating the deep core muscles and improving lumbar stability in individuals with low back pain.

How to perform the "dead bug" exercise for back pain.

How To Do The Dead Bug Exercise:

  • Lie on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

  • Lower your right arm and left leg towards the floor, keeping your lower back pressed against the ground.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

  • Aim for 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side.

Try incorporating the cat cow stretch into your back pain prevention routine.

Incorporating Stretching and Mobility Exercises Into Your Back Pain Program

In addition to strengthening exercises, incorporating stretching and mobility exercises can help alleviate tension, improve flexibility, and enhance overall function in the lower back. To really address all aspects of back health you might consider adding the following exercises to your routine:

  1. Cat-Cow Stretch:

  • Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

  • Inhale as you arch your back, dropping your belly towards the floor and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling (cow position).

  • Exhale as you round your back, tucking your chin towards your chest and drawing your belly button towards your spine (cat position).

  • Repeat this sequence for 8-10 repetitions, focusing on smooth, controlled movements.

child's pose is a wonderful stretch for lower back pain.

2. Child's Pose:

  • Begin on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels with your arms extended forward and your forehead resting on the mat.

  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, focusing on deep breathing and relaxation.

  • Feel the stretch along your spine and in your lower back as you gently press your hips towards your heels.

start slowly with your back pain exercises and don't be afraid to use modifications.

Practical Tips for Success

  1. Start Slowly: If you're new to exercise or experiencing significant pain, start with gentle movements and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time.

  2. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds to each exercise. If you experience any sharp pain or discomfort, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.

  3. Stay Consistent: Consistency is key to seeing results. Aim to incorporate these exercises into your routine 2-3 times per week for optimal benefits.

  4. Seek Professional Guidance: Consider working with a physical therapist or certified personal trainer who can provide personalized guidance and support based on your individual needs and goals.

exercise is a key component to back pain rehabilitation.


If you suffer from low back pain then strengthening your lower back through some of these targeted exercises can be a game-changer. By incorporating these evidence-based exercises, like bridges, bird dogs, and dead bugs, along with extra stretching and mobility exercises, you can help support your spine, alleviate some of your pain, and improve overall function in your lower back.

Remember to start slowly, listen to your body, and stay consistent with your exercise routine. With dedication and perseverance, you can build a stronger, healthier lower back and reclaim your quality of life.


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