Lower Back Pain Exercises

Lower back pain is an extremely prevalent problem in today's society. A lot of lower back pain today can be attributed to de-conditioned core musculature resulting in poor posture and increase loading of the spine.

Think of your spine as a telephone pole or radio mast and your core muscle as the guy-wires tasked with supporting the structure. If the guy-wires were to fail, the mast would fall. Having a weakened core leaves your spine's passive structures (discs, joints) to bear the brunt of your day to day activity. 


A strong core is a necessity, not only to help with pain but to prevent future episodes and stave off early degeneration of the discs and joints in the spine.  


The following exercises may be used to enhance your back fitness and improve your core strength. These exercises are a guide only, they are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied on as personal advice. If any of these exercises make your lower back pain worse stop immediately. 

1. McGill Curl Up 

The Set Up: 

·       Lie down on the floor facing up. 

·       Slide your hands under your lower back (palm down) to support your lumbar spine. 

·       Keep one leg extended and bend the other. 

The Technique:

·       Stiffen your abdominal muscles.

·       Lift your elbows off the floor.

·       Raise your back off the floor until your shoulder blades are off the floor.  It is important to keep your neck straight.

·       Hold this for 10 seconds. 

·       Repeat 3-5 times.

2.Side Bridge/Plank

The Set-Up

Lie down on your side.

·       Place one foot on top of the other or place the top foot slightly in front of the bottom foot.

The Technique:

·       With your elbow directly under your shoulder, push your hips upwards toward the ceiling. 

·       You should feel the muscles on the side closest to the floor working. 

·       Try to hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

·       Repeat on opposite side. 

Remember to keep breathing throughout the exercise.

3. Bird-Dog

The Set Up: 

·       Position yourself on all fours. 

·       Place your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 

·       Stiffen your abdominal muscles, this will make your torso easier to control and ensure movement only takes place at the hips and shoulders. 

The Technique:

·       Extend one leg and the opposite arm outwards. 

·       Make sure your abdominals stay contracted. 

·       Try not to let your torso twist as you lift the leg. 

·       Hold this position for around 8-10 seconds. 

·       Repeat on opposite side. 

4.Dead Bug

The Set Up: 

·       Lie down on the floor facing up with your hands extended up towards the ceiling.

·       Bring your hips and knees up to 90degrees.

·       Flatten your lower back into the floor. It is important that your lower back remains flat on the floor throughout the movement.  

·       This is your starting position. 

The Technique:

·       Start by extending one leg out in front of you. At the same time extend the opposite arm behind your head. 

·       At this point, your lower back will want to arch, it is important to keep it flat to the floor. 

·       Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and return to starting position. 

·       Repeat on the opposite side.

·       Repeat 10 times. 


Remember to keep breathing throughout the exercise.