The back supports the entire body, but thanks in part to desk jobs and evenings in front of the television, UK adults have some of the worst back health across the globe. To combat the poor support offered by sofas and armchairs, and the slouching we all do at our desks, lower back exercises are needed. The good news is that exercising the lower back is something that can be done at home, and does not need expensive equipment. Here are some of the best exercises to strengthen your lower back.
The pelvis is the support structure for the very bottom of the back, and strengthening the muscles in this area will benefit the whole back.
Lay on your back on the floor, using a mat to support you. Draw your knees up so that the soles of your feet are flat on the floor. Keep your knees and feet about hip distance apart. Place your hands on the floor resting by your sides. Tilt the pelvis so that the lower back pushes towards the floor and hold for about 10 seconds, then tilt the pelvis towards the ceiling for about 10 seconds. Repeat the cycle ten times and then relax. Make sure you breathe slowly and regularly, do not hold your breath for the count of ten!
After you have rested, return to the same starting position as the pelvic tilt. This time you are going to try and lift your bottom clear off the floor. Aiming to create a triangle shape, from your shoulders on the floor to the tops of your knees, and down to your feet. There should be a gap under your bottom area, which is where the exercise name the bridge comes from. Again aim to hold the pose for about 10 seconds then release. Repeat ten times and rest.
Roll over onto your stomach and lay completely flat on the floor with your arms extended past your head. When you are ready, lift both feet towards the ceiling and at the same time lift both arms towards the ceiling, looking a bit like Superman in flight! To vary the exercise, while you are getting used to it, use the left arm with the right leg and leave the other arm and leg on the floor, then change over. Repeat evenly up to 20 times and relax.
The most dreaded exercise in floor work! But you cannot argue with the benefits. The plank helps you strengthen the core muscles which in turn contribute to supporting the lower back so is just as important. Remaining on your stomach, push your upper body up, so that you are resting on your lower arms only. Hold your own hands to create a triangle with your lower arms and make sure you keep the upper arm directly under the shoulder. Now, tuck your toes under and push up onto your feet. Keep your body in the straightest line possible and do not allow your bottom to stick up. Your body should be supported on the toes and lower arms. Hold for as long as possible working up to 30 seconds.