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7 easy exercises for lower back pain

7 easy exercises for lower back pain

23rd October 2019

Lower back pain is one of the most common issues we see here at CHH, and is something most of us have experienced at one time or another. It can be very uncomfortable and frustrating. So what can we do to help avoid it?

Our lower back is involved in every movement we do. It is working all the time, helping us stand up tall, twist and turn, bend and lift. It is therefore very important that we strengthen and mobilise this area to provide a good base of support for all of our movements and to help reduce the occurrence of lower back pain.

By developing strength in our legs, hips, buttocks, back and abdomen, we provide support to our lower back and ensure our bodies are working efficiently to avoid injuries, aches and pains. Osteopath Jess Mason demonstrates these 7 easy lower back body weight exercises below and how they will help target all these areas and increase your strength and stability and can be done easily from the comfort of your home.


Here are 7 simple exercises that you can do from the comfort of your own home to help strengthen your lower back.

1. Plank

Planks are a great full body exercise, and really help to develop a strong lower back and abdomen.

Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Extend your legs out behind you, tucking your toes under and lifting your hips up into a plank position. Create a straight line from your feet up to the top of your head, ensuring you are not dropping your hips down to the floor, or pushing your bottom up to the ceiling. Squeeze your abdominals, thighs and glutes, and push up through your shoulders to create this strong position. Hold for 30 seconds.

Jess Mason Modified Plank
Jess Mason Modified Side Plank If this feels a bit too advanced, you can reduce the time or you can drop your knees to the floor.

2. Side Plank

Much like your regular plank above, this exercise is also a great full body exercise, challenging a lot of different muscle groups.

Lie on your side with your forearm flat on the floor. Straighten your legs out and place one foot on top of the other. Lift your hips off the ground and try to hold this position for 30 seconds. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your shoulders down to your toes and your hips are not sagging down to the floor. If this movement is too difficult, bend your knees and press up onto them instead of your feet. Repeat on both sides.

Jess Mason Side Plank
Jess Mason Modified Side Plank If this movement is too difficult, bend your knees and press up onto them instead of your feet.

3. Bird dog

The Bird Dog exercise helps to improve your balance and stability, while also challenging your coordination. It works your deep abdominal muscles and obliques, as well as your lower back and gluteal muscles.

Place your hands and knees on the ground in a 4-point kneeling position. Keep your spine long and make sure you are not arching. Slowly lift one arm and the opposite leg up off the floor, while keeping your torso still. Avoid twisting or arching. Try to push your leg straight back towards the wall behind you, and reach your arm long in front of you. Slowly lower down to the starting position and then repeat on the other side. These movements should be very slow and controlled. Repeat 8-10 times each side.

Jess Mason Bird Dog

4. Pelvic tilts

This exercise helps strengthen your abdominal muscles while also helping you to develop awareness and control over your pelvic position. As your pelvis moves, your lower back moves as well, so it is important to have good control here to avoid unnecessary strain in the lower back.

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Without lifting your pelvis off the floor, try to gently rock your pelvis back and forth. Tighten your abdominal muscles and tuck your tail bone under as your lower back presses into the floor. Hold here for 3 seconds, while continuing to breath normally (don’t hold your breath!). Slowly relax the abdominal muscles and let the pelvis tip forward as your lower back gently arches away from the floor. This movement does not need to be forced. Repeat 8-12 times.

Jess Mason Pelvis Tilt 1
Jess Mason Pelvis Tilt 2

5. Bridge

This is a great exercise to help strengthen the lower back muscles and the glutes.

Lie on your back with your knees bent, keep your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Squeeze your buttocks as you push through your heels to lift your hips and pelvis off the ground. Lift up until you create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Try to avoid arching through the lower back. Hold this position for 5 seconds, before slowly lowering the hips back to the ground. Repeat 8-10 times.

Jess Mason Bridge v2

6. Clams

Clams are a great exercise to strengthen a muscle called gluteus medius. This muscle plays a big role in stabilising our pelvis every time we use our legs, and helps create a strong base on which our lower back can work.

Lie on your side with your knees bent. Stack one leg on top of the other and make sure you are not twisting through the shoulders or the hips. Keeping your feet together, slowly lift the top knee up towards the ceiling. You should feel the sides of your hip and glutes start to work. Ensure you do not lift the knee so high that you start to twist through the lower back. It does not need to be a big movement. Slowly lower the knee back to your starting position. Repeat 8-12 times on each side.

Jess Mason Clam Start Position
Jess Mason Clam Position

7. Back extensions

This exercise can help to strengthen the extensor muscles in your lower back, as well as improving your lower back mobility.

Start by lying on your stomach with your hands placed under your shoulders. Slowly push up onto your forearms, arching through your back. Hold this position for 5 seconds before gently lowering yourself back down to the starting position. Repeat 8-10 times.

Jess Mason Back Extension Start Position
Jess Mason Back Extension

Watch all of the exercises

Osteopath Jess Mason demonstrates just how easy these 7 exercises for lower back pain are in this handy video.

Video Thumbnail

The team at Canterbury Health Hub can help identify the cause of your lower back pain and build you a treatment plan going forward. This may include hands on manual therapy, exercise prescription and advice on your work ergonomics.

This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.