Ease low back pain with these soothing exercises you can do anywhere.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time leads to tightness in the hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves, as well as weakness in the glutes, abs, lower back, and outer hips. The tightness of the hips and hamstrings, coupled with a weak core, leads to poor posture and back pain.
When we experience stress, hormones are released and cause muscles in the body to contract. This can lead to chronic pain and tightness in areas that are tension-prone, like the lower back.
Unfortunately, if you’re not already experiencing stress, lack of physical movement can actually cause it. (2)
11 Easy Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Use these bodyweight exercises to strengthen your core, reduce stress, and alleviate your lower back pain. You can do this routine up to 3x week. All you need is an exercise mat or towel.
Forearm Plank | 30 sec
This bodyweight exercise fights lower back pain by strengthening your entire core, thighs, and arms.
- Start by lying down on your belly and prop yourself up onto your forearms. Spread your fingers wide and bring your forearms to parallel.
- Tuck your toes under and engage your abs. Inhale to lift your hips up in line with your shoulders.
- Press down firmly through your forearms and engage your thighs and abs. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Hold for 30 seconds. If you feel your lower back straining, make sure to tap your knees down to modify your plank.
Bridge | 30 sec
This simple exercise strengthens your glutes, lower back, and abs while also stretching out the hip flexors that get tight from sitting.
- Begin by lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width distance apart on the floor. Your toes should point straight forward. Reach your arms down alongside your body with your palms facing down.
- Inhale to lift your hips up towards the sky. At the top, engage your lower abs to shorten the distance between your belly button and your pubic bone. Squeeze your outer hips.
- Keep your arms actively pressing into the ground and your knees in line with your toes. Hold for 30 seconds.
Forearm Side Plank | 30 sec per side
This exercise protects the lower back by strengthening the obliques.
- Start by lying down on your right side and prop yourself up onto your right forearm. Bring your forearm parallel to the top of your mat and stack your legs and feet. Flex your feet.
- Place your left hand on your hip and engage your abs. Inhale to lift your left hip up towards the sky, pressing firmly through your right forearm.
- Squeeze your glutes and hold for 30 seconds.
Tip: If you have trouble keeping yourself up, place your left hand onto your right wrist and press down for extra shoulder support.
Superman Squeeze | 10 reps
This exercise helps your posture and strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine, the glutes, upper back, and shoulders.
- Begin by lying face down on your mat. Reach your arms above your head and turn your palms to face down.
- Inhale to lift your arms, head, chest, feet, and legs off the ground into a superman position. On your exhale, turn your palms out and “swim” your arms back and down towards your legs.
- Once your hands are next to your thighs, squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift up through your triceps and pinky’s. Inhale to reach forward again and lower everything down. Repeat for 10 reps.
Bird Dog | 8 reps per side
This exercise strengthens the entire core, glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders.
- Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Stack your shoulders directly over your wrists and stack your hips directly over your knees. Engage your abs and pelvic floor.
- Inhale to pick your right hand up and reach your right arm out in front of you while simultaneously lifting your left leg out and back behind you. Your outstretched hand should be in line with your shoulder and your back foot should be in line with your hip.
- Reach long in opposite directions with your right hand and your left foot.
- On your exhale, release them back down. Switch sides and alternate for a total of 8 reps per side.
Bicycles | 10 reps per side
This exercise strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominis.
- Start by lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your head.
- Pick your feet up off the mat and parallel your thighs to the mat. Engage your abs to press your lower back into the mat. Keep your elbows wide and lift your shoulders up off the ground, coming into a crunch position.
- Take an inhale, then exhale to twist right. Hug your right knee in towards your chest as you straighten your left leg out and up. Try and tap your left elbow outside of your right thigh.
- Inhale to come back to center, then exhale to switch sides. Continue alternating for a total of 10 reps per side.
Sumo Squats | 10 reps
This exercise fights the effects of inactivity by strengthening the glutes, hips, thighs, and core.
- Start standing up with your feet wider than hip-width distance. Turn your toes out to 45 degrees and reach your arms straight out in front of you. Engage your abs.
- Inhale as you sit your hips back and down to come into a squat. Keep your chest upright and the weight in your heels.
- Exhale to stand back up and squeeze your glutes. Repeat for 10 reps.
Modified Side Plank with Abductor Kicks | 12 reps per side
This exercise strengthens the core, outer hips, and shoulders.
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Straighten your left foot back behind you with the toes tucked under. Rotate your right foot to the right side of your mat.
- Shift your weight into your right arm and bend your left arm to bring the hand behind your head to come into a modified side plank.
- Inhale to lift your outer left foot towards the sky. Pause at the top for a moment to feel your outer hip working, then inhale to lower it back down. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides.
Adductor Leg Raises | 10 reps per side
This exercise strengthens the inner thighs and hip muscles.
- Start by laying on one side. Use your bottom arm to support your head and place the hand of your top arm on the mat in front of you. Stagger your legs so that your bottom leg is forward and your top leg is back. Lean back slightly.
- Press your top palm into the floor to stabilize yourself and on an exhale, lift your bottom leg up towards the sky using your inner thigh muscles.
- Inhale to lower the leg back down. Repeat for a total of 10 reps, then switch sides.
Deadbug | 10 reps per side
This exercise strengthens your hips flexors and abs while keep the spine in a nice neutral position.
- Start by lying on your back with your arms reaching up out of your shoulders towards the sky.
- Pick your feet up off the ground and bend your knees to 90-degree angles. Engage your abs and press your lower back into the floor.
- Take a deep breath in to slowly extend your left leg towards the floor and at the same time, reach your right arm overhead. Make sure to keep your abs engaged and don’t let your back arch. Hover your left leg and right arm for a moment.
- Exhale to return your arm and leg back to the starting position. Switch sides, then alternate for 10 reps on each side.
Supine Leg Raises | 10 reps
This exercise strengthens your hips and core to prevent lower back pain.
- Start by lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Reach your arms down alongside your body with your palms face down.
- Engage your abs and slightly tuck your pelvis so that your lower back is pressing into the ground. Then, keeping your abs engaged, extend your legs straight up in the air and flex your feet.
- Inhale to lower your legs a few inches towards the ground, then exhale to lift them back up towards the sky. You should feel your lower abs and hip flexors working. Repeat for 10 reps.
Tip: If you feel your lower back strain, then don’t lower your legs quite as much.
(Your Next Workout: 9 Amazing Stretches To Release Shoulder Pain)