6 Effective Exercises for Lower Back Pain
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6 Effective Exercises for Lower Back Pain


Lower back pain affects everyone at some point during their lifetime. Oftentimes, the pain is temporary and caused by an isolated incident. In other cases, the pain is chronic, severe and sometimes debilitating.

Strengthening and stretching the lower back can help minimize pain. Here are 6 exercises that you can do today to improve your lower back pain.

1. Cat Pose

Many yoga poses, or asanas, are designed to relieve pain in the lower back. Cat pose can be incredibly beneficial for anyone experiencing tension or strain in their back.

Therapeutically, cat pose is used to eliminate stress while stretching the back and the neck. It gently massages the spine and the abdominal area.

  • Begin on all fours.
  • Your knees should be directly below your hips. Your shoulders, elbows and wrists should be in line with each other. Keep your head in a neutral position and your gaze at the floor.
  • Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, round your spine up towards the sky. Again, keep your shoulders, elbows, wrists and knees in their proper positions. Avoid forcing your chin into your chest. Hold the pose for 10 seconds.
  • Inhale and come back to the neutral starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

2. Pelvic Lift

Pelvic lifts can help strengthen the lower back and minimize pain. This exercise is similar to the bridge exercise, but focuses more on the lower torso. Aside from strengthening the back, this exercise also helps relieve pain, improves flexibility and enhances stability.

Although this exercise only uses tiny movements, it can produce great results.

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your arms flat on the floor and along your sides.
  • Slowly begin tilting your pelvis up and your buttocks off of the floor.
  • Continue pushing upwards as far as you can without straining or feeling any pain.
  • Hold the position for five to ten seconds.
  • Slowly lower your buttocks down to the floor.
  • Repeat five times.

3. Reclining Double Leg Twist

Reclining double leg twist is an excellent yoga pose for stretching the lower back and abdominal area. If you spend most of your day sitting in a chair, this pose can bring you pain relief and a good stretch to get the blood circulating.

Although a yoga mat is not necessary for this pose, it is recommended as it provides padding and support for your body. If you wish, you may also use a towel or a blanket to provide additional support for your upper arms.

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • With both of your knees together, slowly lower both legs to the right side.
  • Both arms should be spread out and flat on the floor.
  • Turn your head to look the opposite way.
  • Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Return your legs to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.

4. Hip Extension

Hip extensions strengthen core muscles as well as the buttocks. You can choose to perform this exercise with just your own body weight, or you can introduce ankle weights to increase the difficulty of the exercise and help build strength quickly. If you’re suffering from a back injury, it may be best to avoid using weights.

Check Out: 5 Best Exercises for Improving Posture

  • Begin on all fours.
  • Keep your neck straight and parallel to the floor. You should be looking down at the floor without rounding the spine.
  • Slowly bring your right knee towards your chest while rounding the upper spine and tilting your head towards the floor.
  • Tilt your head upward and extend your leg back and behind you. Your leg should be parallel to the ground.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on your left leg.
  • Repeat five times on both legs.

5. Alternating Lunges

Lunges are an excellent way to strengthen the lower back, thighs, hips and buttocks. A strong core and lower body helps keep pain at bay and will also improve muscle tone.

To perform this exercise, you will need a dumbbell. Choose a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level.

  • Begin with your feet 4 feet apart and in a staggered position.
  • With your right foot forward, place a dumbbell on the floor and to the left of your forward foot.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and bend both knees to come into a lunge.
  • With a flat back, reach forward to pick up the dumbbell with your left hand.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • With the dumbbell now in your right hand, turn on your toes and face the opposite way.
  • Lunge with your left leg, keeping your back flat.
  • Bend down to place the dumbbell on the right side of your left foot.
  • Stand up and repeat five times on each side.

6. Crunch and Reach

Crunches help relieve pain by stretching the lower back. At the same time, this exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles. To make crunches more effective, incorporate a reach into the movement to extend the back and engage the abdominal muscles on a deeper level.

Read More: 5 Negative Effects of Bad Posture on Your Body and Mind

  • Lie down on your back with your legs in the air and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
  • Lift your head and your shoulders to come into a crunch.
  • At the same time, raise and extend your arms forward.
  • Simultaneously move your arms straight back and extend your legs. Your arms should be next to your ears and your legs should be straight.
  • Return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Further Resources


  • Amelia says:

    I’ve tried the cat pose last night and I have to say it felt pretty good. I have never done yoga before last night but now I want to do it everyday. My back felt great after the exercise and today as well so the benefits last a bit more. I will do my best to do yoga at least 3-4 times each week.

    • Raz says:

      Wow, that’s immediate! I’m going to add the cat pose to my night time stretch routine. I hate having to do stretches every night, but like you said the benefits are huge, and this stretch looks easy enough to do.

  • Andrew says:

    The crunch and reach is great for both my back and my abs! You can hit two birds with one stone by doing this. I don’t have severe back pain but it does hurt now and then. This exercise helped reduced pain and improve the look of my abs. I usually do 20 reps.

    • Chris says:

      I think I might have overdone it on the ab crunches when I was younger, because I really hurt my back. Maybe it’s time to give it another try, this version looks much better.

  • Silvia says:

    My mother loves doing pelvic lifts. She is constantly telling me how her lower back isn’t hurting anymore and she made me want to try this exercise! I’m not a yoga fan but since she keeps bugging me about how
    awesome this is, I will give it a go. I can see she feels better because in the past her back was often a problem.

  • Sabina says:

    I’ve been doing alternating lunges for years now and my body feels and looks awesome! I’m not shy in blowing my own horn because I worked hard for the body I have. I’ve been doing yoga and other workouts for at least 5 years. You should have seen me back then: I had some “nice” belly fat. Now I could easily compete in contests for the best abs ;)!

    • Greg says:

      Lunges are so hard for me because my knees are bad 🙁 They do wonders for the legs and butt though, they really do.

  • Diana says:

    Don’t know why but I hate doing reclining double leg twists. I know they are probably worth doing because I’ve heard good things about them, but I just don’t seem to like them at all. I tried doing this on several occasions and it didn’t work out well. But I like doing the cat pose. I find it easy and fun to do.

  • Ziggy says:

    I’ll be forwarding this post to my friend immediately – they are constantly in pain in their lower back, but I can’t seem to convince them that exercize can help. they look at me like I’m some kind of new-age psycho when I say they should try it, since the doctor told them that there’s nothing they can do about it. I say why not try?

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