They'll quash back pain and improve your posture.
You may not think about your lower back muscles when working out, but they play a crucial role in overall core strength. If they’re weak, you might experience back pain and poor posture, says yoga teacher Sarah Randall. Here, the best exercises to strengthen your lower back.
Randall likes this yoga move for strength and flexibility.
- From high plank, lower all the way to floor.
- Reach arms behind you.
- Lift head, shoulders, hands, legs off floor.
- Lower down, plant hands next to ribs.
- Push back into high plank.
Do 10 reps, 3x.
Grab a barbell and try this exercise from trainer Emily Skye.
- Feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, knees slightly bent.
- Bend forward, grab bar with underhand grip.
- Let barbell hang, then pull to stomach.
- Keep elbows in.
- Lower and repeat.
Do 12 reps.
This Pilates move from trainer Brett Durney targets the lower back.
- Begin on all fours.
- Keep back neutral, hips stable.
- Reach right arm forward, left leg back.
- With core engaged, slowly return to start.
- Repeat on other side.
Do 10 reps, 3x.
The hinging motion of this move helps hit lower back muscles, Durney says.
- Hold kettlebell at chest, or barbell on shoulders.
- With soft knees, hinge and push hips back.
- Torso is parallel to floor.
- Contract glutes, hamstrings.
- Return to stand.
Do 6 reps, 3x.
Durney says a stronger lower back supports the body and can help prevent injury, and this move can help.
- Lie on stomach, arms stretched forward.
- Contract lower back. Slowly raise hands and feet 4 inches off floor.
- Hold for 3 seconds, lower.
Do 10 reps, 3 sets.
Trainer Robert Dodds says you can use a barbell, kettlebell, or dumbbell.
- Stand with weight in front of you.
- Bend knees, lower hips. Grab weight.
- Push through legs, drive hips forward to stand.
- Weight will hang at waist.
- Lower, repeat.
Do 8-12 reps.
Dodds also likes this bodyweight move.
- Lay face-down on bench, upper body hanging off end.
- Grip bench with legs.
- Bend at waist. Lower upper body to floor.
- Use back muscles to lift back up.
- Hold 2 seconds at top.
Do as many reps as you can in good form.
Trainer Andy Stern says bridges help build muscles in the lower legs and lumbar spine region.
- Lie on back, feet on floor, knees bent.
- Drive hips up, contract glutes.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Lower back down with control.
Do 10 reps, 3-4 sets.
Trainer Erin Mahoney recommends core exercises, like the plank, to strengthen the entire torso.
- Lie on stomach. Prop up onto forearms.
- Lift torso and legs so support comes from forearms and toes.
- Tighten core and glutes.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat 6 times.