Strength Training: Lower Back

by Louise | March 29th, 2011 | Exercises, Strength Training

It seems as if everyone gets a back injury at some point in their life. Because these injuries typically are a result of improper lifting, the most common suggestion for avoiding back injury is simplly to lift the proper amount of weight in the proper manner. Certainly, this will work, but why not do even more to protect your back by performing exercises to increase its strength? Here are a few:

Hip Bridge – Find a flat surface and lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keeping your legs together, tilt your hips upwards, bringing just your butt off the ground, while bringing your lower back to the floor. It may help to imagine trying to get your belly button as close to the floor as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Then, release, rest, and repeat. Try 3 sets of 10. This exercise can be modified for added strengthening. In the tilted position, raise your hips until there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Your back should not feel strained during this exercise.

Kneeling Opposites – Begin on all fours (hands and knees on the ground). While trying to keep your hips completely horizontal, bring one arm off the ground and straighten it out in front of you. You will need to tighten your stomach muscles to keep your hips from twisting and dropping. Hold for 5 seconds, bring the arm down and switch to the other arm. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower your arm and switch to the other arm. This exercise can also be performed by lifting one leg up off the ground and bringing it straight back, alternating between legs instead of arms. Try 3 sets of 10 holds for each leg.

General Stretch – This exercise is to make sure your back can experience full range of motion in a controlled setting. Again on all fours, slowly begin to arch your back upwards, as if you are a scared cat. Then, slowly straighten your back again, and arch your back in the other direction (again, imagine trying to get your belly button as close to the floor as possible, solely by adjusting the curvature of your back). Repeat the cycle 10 times.

Good technique is essential for back exercises. In addition to these back exercises, make sure to keep up your abdominal exercises. A strong back should be coupled with a strong core.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.