Top 6 Lower Back Bodyweight Exercises

Madhura Mohan

Posted on November 11 2020

The current times are not like the good old times where there used to be more mobile jobs and physical activity. The advancement in technology has increased sedentary jobs which demand long hours of sitting at the workplace and has limited manual work for those at home. The current epidemic of back problems is clearly a result of our sedentary lifestyle. 

You are going to learn in this blog some of the exercises that are particularly targeted to strengthen back muscles. As the back requires a lot of energy to train, these bodyweight exercises may also be great for anyone who has a fitness goal in mind to lose tummy fat or lose bodyweight.

You don’t need to envision any dumbbells, weights and other gym equipment here as the title makes it very clear that this blog is about the bodyweight exercises for lower back, so can do them any time.

 

Consequences Of Sedentary Lifestyle 

The lower back supports our posture and is used during most daily activities while sitting, lifting, moving, or carrying weights like bags etc. The sedentary lifestyle and excessive sitting time can lead to muscle imbalances and weak core musculature putting the lower back at increased risk of injury and pain.

  • Our core muscles are meant to endure prolonged contractions to support and stabilize the spine. Long hours of sitting keeps our core relatively inactive which can affect the back strength.

  • The psoas major muscle, which is the fusiform muscle located in the later lumbar region may get shortened due to long hours of sitting, putting chronic stress on the low back.

  • The gluteal muscles, which are the powerful hip extensors may become shortened and tighter, can forget how to act properly (gluteal amnesia). This condition may lead to the butt muscles not firing or working optimally.

  • Your lower back muscles are one of the most functional. With increased sitting time, you are more prone to weak and underutilized muscles leading to poor posture and poor mobility.

Are you also a victim of low back pain? What’s your plan next, to quit your sitting job? Well, that’s not the solution. While avoiding sitting altogether is unrealistic, specific/targeted exercises can help to minimize your chance of developing low back pain…

 

1. PLANK

Plank is an easy, effective bodyweight exercise that requires no equipment. Planks strengthens your back muscles especially those in the upper back. The Plank exercise is best for back pain because they strengthen your core muscles which support the back.

1. Start with your elbows positioned directly under your shoulders and walk the feet back one at a time as you rise up onto the balls of your feet.

2. Engage your quads, glutes and core, see that your body is in a straight line from head to heels.

3. Engage your core by pulling in towards your spine and tighten your glutes.

4. Hold this position for 10 seconds.

5. Repeat this exercise for 1-2 sets of 60 seconds each.

 

2. GLUTAL BRIDGE

The simple bodyweight exercise is perfect for beginners. It not just strengthens your lower back but also strengthens your glutes, hamstrings and tones your rear end.

1. Lie on your back in a bent-knee position with your arms down (placed by your side) and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Raise yourself upwards lifting your hips off the floor by squeezing them.

3. Make sure your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Pause at the top for 2-3 seconds.

4. Slowly lower yourself towards the ground to the starting position. Repeat the movement for 2 sets of 60 seconds each.

Note: Be sure not to hyperextend at the top of the movement as this may hurt your lower back.

 

3. BIRD DOG      

 

This back stabilization exercise works both abdominal and back muscles.

1. Start with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips.

2. Keeping your back flat and core engaged, extend your right arm straight in front of you by keeping your left leg straight behind you.

3. Hold this position for 2 seconds and then return back to the starting position.

4. Repeat the exercise with alternate sides (left arm in front of you and right leg behind you).

5. Perform 5 sets of 10-second holds each time.

 

4. SUPERMAN       

Don’t get confused seeing the image or the by the term of the exercise. The image although depicts a woman and is called superman, won’t really give you the ability to fly like superman. This exercise is simple and effective, works your core and strengthens your upper body.

1. Lie face down on your stomach on the floor with arms fully extended over your head and legs behind you.

2. Squeeze your glutes and lower back to lift your arms, legs and top of your chest off the floor.

3. Keep your neck in a neutral position by looking straight down.

4. Hold for a count and stop when you feel the flex in your lower back (don’t drop your arms and legs).

5. Return to the starting position and repeat.

 

5. COBRA POSE    

Cobra Pose exercise stretches the muscles in the front of the torso, the arms and the shoulders.

1. Lie face down on your abdomen with arms outstretched in front of you and your feet pointed behind you.

2. Press glutes and legs firmly into the floor as you lift your torso.

3. Your palms should be flat and pressed into the floor with your elbows tucked in to your sides.

4. Hold for 10-20 seconds.

5. Repeat this for 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps.

Note: Don’t crunch your lower back, it should feel lengthened. Don’t bend your legs, keep them straight.

 

 6. KNEE TO CHEST HUG 

 

This exercise adds more diaphragmatic space in the lower spine where most of us have tension. It strengthens your deltoids and core muscles.

1. Begin by lying on your back, with your legs and arms extended.

2. As you exhale, draw both of your knees to your chest. Clasp your hands around them.

3. Keep your back flat on the floor throughout.

4. Release your shoulder blades down towards your waist.

5. Hold for a count and then extend both legs along the floor and rest.

6. Repeat up to 5 times.

Note: You can do this exercise with single knee drawn towards the chest instead of both.

 

To protect your low back, maintain an upright, engaged posture while on the job and avoid staying in any one position for too long…   

 

Don’t treat your back muscles as an afterthought during your workout…after all your back muscles are one of the largest areas of your upper body and there is a need to strengthen them…  

 

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