Core Exercises For Lower Back Pain


Lower back pain is a pesky problem that we all experience at some point. Lower back pain can often be mitigated by strengthening the core muscles around the abs and back. The core group of muscles is a cylinder of muscle that wraps around the body like a corset, keeping internal organs in place. The glutes are also considered to be part of the core. By strengthening the core, you increase the load bearing capacity of your lower back which means smaller movements which used to cause pain no longer will.

There are three primary areas of the core that can be strengthened to help alleviate lower back pain. The spinal muscles, abdominal muscles and hip muscles all work together to support the spine and internal organs and it’s these that must be exercised in order to develop strength. Strong core muscles help support the spine and research suggests that core endurance is important to spinal ability during prolonged exercise. So, not only can strengthening the core help alleviate back pain, it can also improve athletic performance.

The following exercises can be performed to improve the strength characteristic of the core muscle group:

Tabletop Leg Press: This exercise is great for building core strength and understanding what engaging the core feels like.

  1. Lie straight on your back with your legs raised in a tabletop position.
  2. Contract your abs to press your back into the ground and perform a crunch.
  3. Drive your quads into your hands without moving while simultaneously pressing them away. You should feel the pressure in your core.
  4. Hold this position.

Bird Dog: This stretch is used to improve the strength of the muscles that run down the length of the spine.

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Extend your right arm forward and left leg back while maintaining a flat back.
  3. Squeeze your abs and return your arm and leg to its starting position.
  4. Continue this movement for 30 seconds then repeat with the other side.

Glute Bridge: This move engages the glutes. Just make sure you don’t overextend your back. 

  1. Lie on your back with your hands at your side, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Squeeze your abs and glutes and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches off the floor until your body forms a straight line. Hold this position for a second.
  3. Slowly lower your hips to the starting position. 

Sportsmen and women with a history of back injury may benefit from some carefully targeted core training as a preventative measure. 

Recent research also suggests that maintaining core strength can improve running economy. This will help reduce fatigue during longer sporting activities where running is a key activity.

If you are suffering from lower back pain or are looking to improve your athletic performance. Call Erko Physio and book an appointment with one of our trained and licensed physios. We will evaluate your range of motion and will teach you to stretch in ways that improve your core strength. With time your lower back condition will improve and you may find your sporting performance further enhanced.