Lower Back Strengthening Exercises


There are several pathways to strengthen the lower back. This may include club workouts, personal trainers, exercise videos and other health care prescribed programs. This article outlines 6 basic actions that can be done at home or work with very little time invested in the routine. Prior to performing this group of strengthening exercises, the first step in your lower back care should be stretching exercises. This lower back strengthening protocol is the perfect follow-up step into care for your sore lower back. Being proactive with the care of your back may eliminate or reduce the prevalence of lower back pain in your life.


Frequency and Cost of Lower Back Pain


It has been reported that up to 80% of the population in the United States may suffer from lower back pain in their lifetime. The numbers are staggering in that up to 30% of us at any one time may be affected by lower back pain. Lower back pain is also becoming a greater problem worldwide. Researchers have reported that lower back pain is the second leading condition for a visit to the doctor and third most common reason for surgical intervention. In the United States, we spend upwards to $50 billion dollars a year on lower back pain.


This article provides the reader with some simple, yet effective exercise routines to follow as a preventative measure.


Basic Lower Back Strengthening Exercises


It is recommended that lower back stretches be completed before these strengthening exercises are performed. Warming up the muscles may help in performance and comfort when doing exercises.


The Partial Curl Up


Strengthens the abdominal muscles. The exercise is helpful for digestion and lower back stability.
  • Lie flat on your back, knees bent and arms folded across the chest with your feet flat on the floor so you’re comfortable.

  • Tighten your abdominal muscles, keeping your neck muscles tight, and locking your neck. Leading with your neck or throwing your neck upwards to begin the exercise could injure your neck.

  • Slowly lift your shoulders off the floor a few inches holding that posture for a minimum of 5 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat the exercise. Your first goal is to get to 10 repetitions. Once accomplished you can work to double the repetitions.
NOTE : If your lower back hurts doing this exercise place a small rolled up towel in the small of the back while performing the exercise. This could help relieve the lower back discomfort.


The Bridge


Strengthens the abdominal, buttock and hamstring muscles. Aids in the stability of the lower back and is helpful for walking.
  • Lie down on your back, with your feet and palms flat on the floor.

  • Once comfortable, contract your buttock and abdominal muscles slowly lifting the buttocks off the floor. Try to lift them so there is a straight line from the shoulders, buttocks and knees. At first this may be difficult, but keep working to get this posture.

  • Hold the position for 5 seconds and perform 10 repetitions. Initially, you may not be able to do this 10 times. Do as many as you can. Goals can be set higher once 10 repetitions are easily performed.
NOTE : Use a small pillow under your neck to prevent the neck from arching back should you have neck pain or discomfort.
  • Advanced exercise can be accomplished by raising one leg several inches off the floor keeping the stomach muscles tight. This should be done only after your initial goals have been met.


Partial Push-Up


Stretches and strengthens the lower back muscles and helps to maintain the lower back curve.
  • Lie flat on your stomach with your palms on the floor and elbows bent. Relax your stomach and back muscles.

  • Slowly push yourself up arching the lower back. Just when it feels like the umbilicus or “belly button” is about to leave the floor. Stop and hold for 5 seconds and perform 10 repetitions or do as many as you can working up to 10. Once this is comfortably done, your goal can be increased.
NOTE : Use a small pillow under your neck to prevent the neck from arching back should you have neck pain or discomfort.
  • Advanced exercise can be accomplished by raising one leg several inches off the floor keeping the stomach muscles tight. This should be done only after your initial goals have been met.
Precaution : This exercise should not be done with an acute facet syndrome as it compresses the inflamed lower back joints and can perpetuate and intensify the problem.


Abdominal Lift


Strengthens the lower abdominal muscles which helps in lower back and pelvic stability.
  • Lying on the floor with the knees bent and the back, hands and feet flat, tighten your abdominal muscles.

  • Lift one bent knee towards the chest keeping the abdominal muscles tight and the back flat on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and do this routine for 5 repetitions. Goals can be increased after you comfortably can do the initial protocol.
  • A more aggressive version can be accomplished by lying in the same position but performing a bicycling motion with the arms and legs. When the knee is brought up to the chest the hand on that side should come forward to touch the knee. Perform this 30 times, 15 with each leg.
NOTE : Do not attempt this until you have reached your goals for the basic exercise.


Leg Reach or Quadruped


Strengthens the buttocks and lower back muscles to help with good posture.
  • The starting position is kneeling with your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders and knees under the pelvis.

  • Keep your back straight when extending the leg straight out behind you. Abdominal muscles should be held tight. Leg is parallel to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and strive for 10 repetitions. Goals can be increased once the initial level recommendations are comfortable to perform.
NOTE : Toes should slightly point backward; keep your eyes looking downward.
  • A more aggressive exercise may be done once you are able to do the initial routine easily. Obtain the same starting position but extend the opposing arms and legs at the same time.


Wall Slide


Strengthens the buttocks, hamstrings and front of the thighs.
  • Stand leaning against the wall in a position that appears like you are about to sit in a chair. Have your feet about 12″ to 16″ from the wall and place a small rolled towel behind your back. The towel maintains the normal curve in the lower back. Relax.

  • Slowly slide down the wall as if you were going to sit in a chair. Stop when you are right between standing or sitting. Hold that posture for 10 seconds and perform this exercise 5 repetitions. Look straight ahead to keep an even balance on your muscles.

  • Breath normally and do not let your buttocks go below the knees.




The doctors at Coon Rapids Chiropractic Office have experience in recommending exercises for the care and treatment of lower back injuries and conditions.


Please call (763) 755-4300 today for an appointment.


The International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine