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If you’re wondering, “What is the best exercise for lower back pain?” you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the workouts you can do to maximize your mobility, increase your core strength, and reduce back pain.
And no, we’re not going to be talking about doing deadlifts!
The right workouts won’t only target your lower back, but they’ll help to strengthen all the core muscles, back muscles, and even your glutes and legs to ensure that your back has the best support and protection possible.
Want to know the answer to the question, “What is the best exercise for lower back pain?” Read on to find out everything you need to know!
What is the best exercise for lower back pain?
Really, the answer to this question boils down to a simple answer: the best exercise for lower back pain is anything that loosens and stretches tight muscles, helps to build muscular strength in your lower back, and encourages better overall support in your posterior chain (all the muscles along the back half of your body).
Let’s start with the simple one: stretches.
Stretches help to loosen up tight muscles, open up space between your joints, and elongate connective tissue (tendons and ligaments). Many back pain sufferers experience discomfort because of stiffness, limited mobility, or injuries caused by incorrect movement. Stretching helps to elongate your spine, opening up the spinal column in a way that your vertebrae can easily shift back into position. It also loosens up tight, strained muscles, reducing the tension on your spinal column.
Some of the best stretches to do include:
Child’s Pose – This amazing Yoga movement helps to relieve tension all along your back, as well as in your neck and shoulders. It can increase circulation and accelerate healing.
Straight-Leg Hamstring Stretch – This pulls on the muscles in your upper legs (hamstrings) as well as your glutes and lower back.
Knee-to-Chest Stretch – This stretch loosens up the muscles and joints in your hips, glutes, thighs, and lower back, encouraging better core and lower body relaxation.
Cat-Cow Stretch – This double movement encourages better range of motion in both directions, and it can loosen up your spine, neck, and shoulders.
If you experience lower back pain, it’s worth doing these stretches every day to keep your joints and muscles limber.
Resistance Training is another excellent exercise to help you manage lower back pain. Lifting weights strengthens your back, and stronger spinal muscles provide protection against injuries during exercise and your activities of daily life.
However, be warned: resistance training also increases your risk of injuries if you’re not careful, or if you use too much weight. Be VERY cautious when training your lower back or doing any exercises—like Squats or Lunges—where a lot of weight is placed on your lower back.
The best, safest resistance training exercises to do for a stronger lower back include:
Superman – This is a low-impact exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime. All you need is a mat and enough cleared space on your floor or carpet to raise your legs and arms.
Back Extensions – This movement, when done carefully, helps to engage all the lower back muscles. It’s highly targeted and can be an excellent way to both regain range of motion and increase strength.
Bridge – This Yoga exercise can be used for resistance training, by adding a bit of weight atop your lap as you lift up into the bridge position.
Glute/Hip Thruster – This movement targets your glutes, which provide vital support to your lower back muscles. Strengthening your glutes will drastically reduce your risk of lower back injury.
Aerobic Exercise is also incredibly effective at managing lower back pain by strengthening your back and core muscles. One of the “side perks” of aerobic exercise is that it can also encourage weight loss, which will reduce the strain on your back.
The best types of aerobic exercise to do for lower back pain include:
Walking – It’s low-impact, easy to do, and can be sustained for hours at a time. You’ll find that walking strengthens your entire body and helps to encourage back muscle mobility.
Swimming – The full-body activity of swimming makes it incredibly effective for building a stronger back, and the side-to-side twisting motion will develop serious core power. It’s also a low-impact exercise that will give you a killer workout with minimal strain on your back.
Cycling – Cycling utilizes your lower body, but it builds strength in the leg and glute muscles that provide support to your lower back. If you’ve got back pain issues, try cycling on a recumbent bicycle, where all the strain is taking off your back.
Yoga and Pilates are both marvelous for stretching and strengthening. Nearly every full-body movement will limber up your tight, sore muscles and build core power, both of which will lead to better back health and reduced pain.
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