The lower back is an easily forgotten muscle group. There are countless other workouts that focus on blasting your chest, arms, legs, and even your upper back, but as a group that we don’t often see in the mirror, the lower back can be easy to dismiss.
Unfortunately, weak lower back muscles can lead to injury and back pain in the future. While weak muscles are far from the only cause of lower back pain, to truly build strength and have a balanced and healthy physique, it’s important to give this area its due attention. The lower back plays an integral role in the stability and mobility of your spine, and along with the rest of your core muscles, can make a huge difference in sports as well as in your daily activities.
As a group made up of small muscles, you don’t have to dedicate an entire session to annihilate them like you would your legs or chest. Instead, try incorporating some of these exercises into your regular routines to keep your back supple, strong, and healthy!
Best Lower Back Exercises
As we’ve said, you don’t need to crush your lower back in a dedicated workout to see results. In fact, body weight is going to be enough for many to start with, in or outside of the gym. Here is a list of exercises you can incorporate into your workouts to help build a strong lower back.
In The Gym:
1) Deadlifts: Well known for its ability to build up a great butt, deadlifts target the lower back during the last third of the movement. Proper posture throughout the entire movement is critical to avoid injury.
2) Rack Pulls: This move basically isolates the top movement of the deadlift, making it a great alternative if you’re working your lower back while resting your hamstrings and glutes. The movement starts at about knee level to really target the lower back.
3) Good Mornings: Set up a barbell at shoulder height on a squat rack. With the barbell across the back of your shoulders, lean forward from your hips, keeping your head up and back straight. Go as far forward as you can (preferably parallel with the floor) and come back up to the top of the movement.
4) Hyperextensions: Adjust the hyperextension pad so it sits across the top of your thighs but allows for full range of motion in the hips. Keep your back straight and bend forward as far as you can before coming back up to the top.
1) Kettleball Swings: These can be done in the gym or at home, as long as you have a kettleball. This targets the lower extensor muscles, as well as the glutes and hamstrings, which all work together to keep your spine stable.
2) Supermans: Lying face down on the floor with your arms straight out above your head, raise your shoulders and legs as far off the ground as possible.
3) Hyperextensions on Exercise Ball: This is the same movement as on the bench mentioned above, only you’re bending over an exercise ball. Anchor your feet against the wall for more stability.
4) Glute Bridges: This will work both your lower back and your glutes. Lie on the floor with your arms beside you and your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Engage your core and push through your heels to bring your lower body up and into a straight line from the tops of your knees to your shoulders.
5) Planks: This is an all-round great exercise for your entire core. If you’re new to planks, start with 20 seconds, and add 10 seconds a week until you can hold it for 3 sets of 60 seconds each.
Best Exercises to Strengthen Lower Back
If you’re hoping to keep your workout routine to a reasonable length and only have room for one or two new exercises, the best lower back exercise to incorporate is deadlifts. Deadlifts are a large, compound movement that will engage not only your lower back, but also your hamstrings, glutes, quads, and entire core. Another reason for adding another compound movement to your routine is that the more muscles you engage in a movement, the bigger the hormonal release, including testosterone, a critical part of muscle building. To get the most out of this extra release, try pairing your workouts with a testo support supplement like HexoFire Labs Delta Prime.
If you’re looking to spend a little extra time focused on your lower back, go for hyperextensions. You’ll still feel this one in your glutes, but you’ll also feel a nice, focused burn in your lower back. If your own bodyweight isn’t enough of a challenge, try holding a weight plate or dumbbell close to your chest as you perform the movement. Especially as the weight gets heavier, remember to keep proper posture in your back.
Exercises for Lower Back Pain
If you’re experiencing lower back pain already, big compound movements like deadlifts may be out of the question for now. However, there are lots of exercises and stretches you can do at home to help ease the tension and pain in your back.
1) Child’s Pose: This is a yoga pose that is great for lengthening the spine and relieving tension in the lower back. With your knees tucked up beneath you, lean forward and extend your arms as far in front of you as far as you comfortably can, face down. Hold the position for several deep breaths.
2) Lower Trunk Twists: This is a common stretch for athletes and is great for improving your rotation mobility. Lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides (like a T). Bring your left knee up and pull it across your body with your right hand as far as you comfortably can. Keep your shoulders on the ground and turn your head the opposite way of your bent leg.
3) Bird Dogs: This exercise helps to tone the extensor muscles while also improving muscle coordination. While on your hands and knees, extend the right hand and left leg straight out. Keep the arm and leg level with your back and try to reach out as far as you can. Bring back to start and repeat with the opposite limbs.
4) Supine Draw In: This requires very little movement but helps to strengthen your entire core. Lying on your back, contract your core and focus on bringing your bellybutton towards your spine. Hold the contraction for a count of 5 and release.
5) Partial Ab Crunches: This movement will be only about half of a regular crunch. Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Contract your abs and pull your bellybutton towards your spine. With hands on your chest, lift your shoulder blades so they are just a few inches off the ground, and return to starting.
Lower Back Fat Exercises
We all have stubborn areas of fat we want to target, but unfortunately, there is no magic exercise that will target back fat by itself. The only way to melt fat off the body is through good diet and exercise. However, fasted cardio has been known to help blast fat from those stubborn areas when you get down to those last few pounds. This works mostly for those with a low body fat percentage (single numbers for men and in the low teens for women) and is a favorite for bodybuilders prepping for competition.
What you can do to target lower back fat is any of the exercises above so that you start to build muscle beneath the fat. As your diet and workout routine work, more and more of your hard-earned muscle will appear.