8 Effective Core Strengthening Exercises For Lower Back Pain

8 Effective Core Strengthening Exercises For Lower Back Pain

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Justin
February 22, 2022
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If lower back pain is an issue for you, certain exercises can help you ease or completely ease the pain.

Core strengthening exercises for lower back pain can increase blood flow along your lower back area and reduce aches and stiffness. Plus, it can lead to a speedy recovery process.

However, not all movements are beneficial for relieving lower back pain.

To help you find the right moves, we’ll highlight 8 highly effective core strengthening exercises that can help you in this regard.

#1 Knee-to-Chest Stretches

#1 Knee-to-Chest Stretches

The knee-to-chest move is an exercise that stretches the lower back to ease out any pain or tension.

Benefits

  • Highly beneficial on the adductor muscles.
  • Helps to improve knee flexion.
  • Creates good abdominal support for a healthy and strong back.
  • Creates a massaging effect on the internal organs that helps your digestive system and elimination processes.

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Get your feet flat on the floor by bending your knees at a 45-degree angle.
  3. With both hands, pull a knee to your chest.
  4. Hold this position for about 5 to 6 seconds while you press your spine hard on the floor and contract your abdomen.
  5. Release your leg and return it to the start position.
  6. Repeat this move on your second leg.
  7. Do this about 2 or 3 times at least twice a day.

#2 Bridges

#2 Bridges

The classic bridges move is one of the most effective core strengthening exercises for lower back pain that works your gluteus maximus.

Since this is a vital body muscle, it gives your back good support when you keep it strong.

Benefits

  • Improves posture.
  • Helps with athletic performance.
  • Strengthens the core.
  • Reduces back and knee pains.

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Lie face up on the floor.
  2. Bend your knees with your feet flat and firm on the floor at hip-width apart.
  3. Your arms should be straight by your side.
  4. Raise your buttocks off the floor and let your shoulder to knee form a straight line.
  5. With your shoulders still firmly on the floor, squeeze your buttocks.
  6. Now, lower your buttocks back to the floor and remain on the ground for a couple of seconds.
  7. Do this movement about 15 times and take a minute rest.
  8. Do at least 3 sets of 15 reps.

How to Modify

You can modify this exercise to create a full bridge-centric workout by doing one of the variations like the weighted bridge.

  1. Follow the same steps but with a weight on your hips. 
  2. Stabilize it with your hands to keep it in place.
  3. Lift your hips as high as possible (let the lifting be from your glutes and not your lower back).
  4. Return to the center and repeat this process. Aim for 10 reps.

You can also try single leg bridge, inverted bridge, narrow bridge, and more variations.

#3 Pelvic Tilts

#3 Pelvic Tilts

When done correctly, the pelvic tilts exercise can ease tensed back muscles and make them very flexible.

Benefits

  • Very effective for relieving back and pelvic pain during pregnancy.
  • Great for reducing lumbar lordosis (the inward curve of the lower back) caused by bad body posture.
  • Strengthens and tightens abdominal muscles.
  • Doing this exercise is a safe way to stretch your spine and also work your abdominal muscles. 

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Lie with your back flat on the floor.
  2. Bend your knees so that your feet press flat against the floor and keep your arms by your side.
  3. Push your stomach out gently and form an arc with your lower back.
  4. Hold this position for at least 5 seconds before you relax.
  5. Keep your back flat and pull your belly button in.
  6. Hold this position for at least 5 seconds before you relax.
  7. Gradually increase the number of reps each day.

How to Modify

There are different ways to perform this exercise. However, the one you choose will depend on your purpose or fitness goals.

Opt for the standing variation if your health condition doesn’t permit you to lie on your back. This position will be more comfortable.

You can do this by:

  1. Leaning your back against a sturdy wall.
  2. Inhale and slightly bend your knees.
  3. Then exhale while you bring your pelvis away from the wall towards your face.
  4. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting point.
  5. Aim for at least 5 to 10 reps.

#4 Lying Lateral Leg Lifts

#4 Lying Lateral Leg Lifts

This exercise strengthens your hip abductor muscles, which provide support for the pelvis. Plus, it can ease the ache and strain on your back.

Benefits

  • Very effective in improving muscle endurance.
  • Allows a better range of movements in the hip region.
  • Encourages good body stabilization.
  • Helps to use more inactive muscles (great for those who spend most of their day sitting in one position).
  • Helps to maintain balance and mobility.

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Lie on your side, with your legs stacked, keeping the leg beneath slightly bent.
  2. Engage your core by pulling your belly button inwards.
  3. Raise your top leg as high as you can (about 16 – 18 inches is great).
  4. Keep your leg in that position for about 3 seconds.
  5. Do 10 reps and switch to your other side.
  6. Do 10 reps of 3 sets on each side.

How to Modify

To modify this, you can use a chair to support you for better stabilization.

  1. Stand straight and rest your hands on your hips or stretch them forward with your toes facing forward.
  2. Flex your right foot and lift it off the floor, as you take a deep breath and transfer the weight to your left foot.
  3. Exhale and bring your right leg down.
  4. Do this movement for about 10 to 12 reps.
  5. Repeat this process on the other leg.

#5 Bird Dog

#5 Bird Dog

You can count on this exercise when you want to work on your balance. Plus, it is a great exercise for the muscles in your core. It also builds stability.

Benefits

  • Effective for building lower back strength.
  • Increases stability.
  • Supports good posture.
  • Beneficial move for the entire body.

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Go on all fours, keeping your back straight.
  2. Squeeze your core, raise your left arm, and point straight away from your shoulders. At the same time, raise your right leg and extend it directly behind your hips and flex your toe.
  3. Gradually return both your hand and leg back to the starting point.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Do 3 sets of 10 reps (or as much as you can go).

How to Modify

To take this exercise a step further:

  1. Keep your spine straight.
  2. Relax your neck and look downwards.
  3. Move both your leg and arm together in one movement.
  4. Try and keep your hips leveled and avoid moving your pelvis.
  5. Avoid sinking your chest towards the floor.
  6. Take it slowly and maintain even breathing.

#6 Clamshell

#6 Clamshell

This is an exercise that works your gluteus medius, which is responsible for lifting your legs sideways. It is also a good core strengthening exercise for lower back pain.

Benefits

  • Effective for relieving lower back injuries and pains.
  • Provides motor control and stability to the pelvic girdle.

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Lie on your right side. Bend your elbow and place your hand under your head to prop it up.
  2. With your legs and feet stacked and bring your knees into a 45-degree angle.
  3. Put your left hand either on the floor or on your hips for support.
  4. Squeeze your glutes as you gently raise the left knee upward, while your feet at still touching.
  5. Bring your left leg back down to meet the right.
  6. Do the move for about 10 reps of 3 sets.
  7. Switch to the left side and repeat.

How to Modify

To take this exercise to another level, use a resistance band. It gives the workout more effect on the glutes and hamstrings, making your core and back stronger.

Here is how to modify the exercise.

  1. Place the resistance band around your legs, slightly above your knees.
  2. Lie on your side and bend your knees at a 45-degree angle, keeping both legs and feet stacked.
  3. Squeeze your abdominal muscles to help stabilize your core.
  4. Let your feet touch each other and raise your upper knee very high while your hips and pelvis stay in position.
  5. Your leg should be firmly on the floor.
  6. Hold for some seconds and then bring back the top knee to the beginning.
  7. Go for at least 20 reps on each of your sides.

Other variations include:

  • Clamshell with dumbbell rotation
  • Clamshell with stability ball crunch

#7 Cat-Cow

#7 Cat-Cow

This is an exercise that is based on yoga stretches. It is a great way to strengthen your core and relieve lower back pain.

Benefits

  • Doing this exercise will give you a good posture and balance.
  • Helps to stretch the neck and spine.
  • Great for your back, abdomen, and hips.
  • Helps to calm the mind and relieve stress.
  • Stimulates the kidney and adrenal glands in your belly.
  • Create emotional balance.

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Start by placing your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Tilt your head by looking upwards, and then curve your spine downwards towards the floor (cow position).
  3. Stay in this position for between 5 – 10 seconds.
  4. Then go back to the starting position.
  5. Curve your back upward towards the ceiling and look down to the floor (cat position).
  6. Repeat the cow and cat movements for as long as you can go.

How to Modify

This exercise can be done in a seated position. There are different variations of this exercise, including the cat-cow pose with leg-to-side that works your shoulders, arms, lower and upper back, respectively.

#8 Sphinx/Cobra

#8 Sphinx/Cobra

This is a preparatory pose that can work your lower back and make your body more flexible and comfortable. It is another good core strengthening exercise for lower back pain.

Benefits

  • Tones your glutes.
  • Helps you attain a deep backstretch.
  • Get you prepared for deeper backbends.
  • Great at strengthening your back muscles.

How to Perform the Exercise

  1. Lie face down with your palms on the floor and elbows under the shoulders.
  2. Flex your glutes, lower yourself back at the same time, lift your head and chest and firmly press your pelvis to the floor.
  3. Look forward if you can.
  4. Extend your arms forward for a deeper stretch.
  5. Stay in this position for up to a minute and repeat as many times as you can.

How to Modify

There are some ways you can modify this exercise to make it more accessible and comfortable. For people with health challenges or if you are pregnant:

  1. Lean on a wall with your forearms pressed against it.
  2. Assume the same posture you would be doing if you were to be doing it on the floor (i.e back-bending posture and the heart-opening).

Get yourself ready and comfortable with this pose and then attempt some other core strengthening exercises for lower back pain.

Conclusion

There you have it – eight highly effective core strengthening exercises for lower back pain that you can do in the gym or at home.

Keep in mind that these moves are aimed at relieving pain in the lower back, so you shouldn’t overstress your back while performing them.

Resources:

Justin

Justin Rodriguez has spent most of his adult life inspiring people to take their fitness more seriously. He is not new to the business of providing practical solutions for those looking to set and smash their fitness goals. From sharing professional tips and tricks to recommending awesome products, Justin Rodriguez helps just about anyone who wants to get the best out of their workout routines.Having gathered a lot of experience both in and outside the gym, Justin Rodriguez uses DSW Fitness as a medium to show you exactly how to get that great-looking body with toned muscles you’ve always wanted.