• Johnny Roberts

Best lower back exercises for a strong core


The benefit of having strong back muscles


Probably the most important part of your body to keep you in full wellness; the lower back muscles. Having strength in this area is more about function than form. They’re not superficial muscles that will make you look good, but they will help improve your health. Lower back pain is incredibly common for a variety of reasons, including sedentary jobs, poor posture, and incorrect form when exercising or playing sport. Strong lower back muscles will help counteract these and prevent injury. You’ll also be able to increase your performance in the gym and other sports, including running, rugby, or hockey. Plus, strong, healthy lower back muscles will help to ensure you stay mobile the older you get and give you that much needed energy and mobility in to your later years.


The best lower back exercises


The best results in building strength and functionality in your muscles come from working them through their full range of motion. When it comes to the lower back muscles, it’s easy to have them isometrically (statically) contracted in many of your usual exercises; however, it’s getting a concentric (moving) contraction that’s more difficult. Combining activities that have a small amount of concentric contraction, as well as moves that specifically aim for that, will give you the best path to success.

Let me run through 5 exercises here that will enhance your day to day living and get you feeling strong in your back again:


Deadlift


Steps


  1. Stand in front of your bar with your feet hip-width apart. You’ll have your knees bent at the bottom of the move.

  2. Hold the bar in an overhand grip at shoulder width.

  3. Pull the bar straight up until your body is upright, arms are straight down, and the bar is resting in front of your thighs.

  4. Your knees will straighten first; then, your body will follow tilting at the hips. Keep in mind to keep your back and neck as straight as possible when performing this move.

  5. The vertical standing position at the top of this move is where you will feel that small amount of concentric contraction in your lower back.

  6. Lower the bar back to the ground, with control.


Kettlebell swing


Steps


  1. Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, with the kettlebell on the floor just behind you.

  2. Bend your knees to grab the kettlebell behind you. Make sure to tilt at the hips, pushing your butt backward. Keep your chest up and back straight.

  3. Drive forward with your hips in a thrusting motion, and as your knees straighten, use that momentum to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height.

  4. Repeat in a continuous loop for a full set.


Lower back extension



Steps


  1. Have your chosen weights ready on the floor at the front of the ham-glute machine, so you can quickly grab them.

  2. Position your body in the machine, so you’re pivoting at the hips.

  3. Lower your torso down, until you’re facing down to the floor, and your back is fully flexed. If you’re using weights, grab them while you’re here.

  4. Focus on using your back to pull your torso up until your body is straight. Don’t bend your back further than straight. If you want to work your upper back muscles at the same time, add a row at the top.

  5. Lower yourself back down with control.


Glute bridge


Steps


  1. Lie on your back, with your feet up on a box or weight machine chair — just make sure it won’t move. Both your knees and hips should be bent at 90-degrees.

  2. Drive up, using your hips, glutes, and lower back muscles, until your torso is straight.

  3. Lower your hips back down to the ground with control.


Superman pose


  1. Lie face down on the floor, with your arms out in front of you, palms down.

  2. Raise your arms, upper body, feet, and knees off the ground, keeping your weight anchored to the ground at your hips. You should feel the contraction in your glutes and lower back.

  3. Hold this for three seconds, then lower your arms and legs back down.



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