Lower Back Strengthening Exercises - A step-by-step guide

After many painful attempts at trying to quickly fix my weak lower back, I realised that working on this problem needed to be approached in a logical step by step manner which couldn't be rushed.

Previously, following rehabilitation, I had tried to rush getting past the weak feeling only to find I would re-injure myself or that it would take me back a few steps in my strength training.

However following several failed attempts, I stumbled upon a systematic approach which involved challenging my core muscle groups gradually in-order to strengthen my lower back and finally attain a healthy spine with a good effortless posture.

Below I will explain the systematic approach I used to strengthening my weak lower back.

As you can see, these routines were taken from many disciplines such as yoga, pilates and weight training. Combined, they provided me with a framework for strengthening my lower back.

Exercise Level: Laying The Foundation

The foundation stage is where you should start and then work yourself up by following the step-by-step guide.

The exercises in foundation are the most fundamental exercises you should be able to perform with ease before progressing on to the next stage.

The exercises found in this stage are usually given by medical practitioners when one is recovering from injury to help in the strengthening journey.

Bird Dog Exercise

The Bird Dog exercise will stabilise the spine without risking injury. You should notice a difference after the first week.

Back Bridge Exercise

The bridge exercise is often seen in Pilates and Yoga and is used to strengthen the entire midsection. As a result, it is often a common exercise prescribed by physiotherapists following a lower back injury.

Lower Back Stretching Routine

It’s one of those most neglected activities I find myself avoiding these days especially since having kids. Over the years I’ve learnt a lot of about stretching and I now put stretching exercises into the following 3 groups:

Exercise Level: Intermediate

In Intermediate, we will build upon the existing exercises from the foundation stage by adding some resistance and also by introducing the plank exercise.

We will introduce the plank here to ensure that you are ready to take on the additional resistance required by this exercise.

However you will not perform the full plank yet; we will carry out the plank with some support to ensure that you don’t cause yourself injury.

Bird Dog Exercise With Weights

Adds light resistance to the previous bird dog exercise to keep challenging the muscle groups.

Back Bridge With Swiss Ball

Adds instability to the previous bridge exercise to keep challenging the muscle groups.

Front Plank On Knees

The abs are key to supporting your lower back and act as protectors when they are contracted and working effectively.

Side Plank With Support

The abs are key to supporting your lower back and act as protectors when they are contracted and working effectively.

Exercise Level: Advanced

In Advanced, we increase the resistance and build on the exercises shown in Intermediate.

Hyperextension Bench Exercise

The hyperextension bench is a core workout bench that targets the lower back, glutes and can also work the abdominals.

Front Plank On Elbows

The classic front palnk exercise which is all about maintaining a fixed position for an extended period of time.

Side Plank Exercise

The side plank is more difficult to perform compared to the front plank since it requires a lot more strength to hold your entire body weight on one arm. With this exercise you will see an increase in your endurance levels over time.

Weighted Static Hold & Farmers Walk

The weighted static hold & farmers walk will give your core and shoulders a much needed workout if you are stuck behind your desk full-time.

Exercise Level: Expert

In Expert, we will introduce some machines that will isolate the various muscle groups that you’ve been training in Advanced.

These exercises will require the use of special gym equipment, which you can find in your local gym. However if you don’t, then I suggest you find a gym that has them as they will greatly improve the strength of your core and lower back.

Since there is additional resistance in Expert you would typically perform these exercises only once a week at the gym. Do ensure you are doing some light stretching during the days when you are not working out.

Back Extension Machine Exercise

The seated back extension is commonly found in most gyms. You sit on it and extend back pushing a stacked weight that you have selected.

Captains Chair Abs Exercise

The Knee Raise, also known as the Captain’s Chair Exercise will strengthen your abs. This is a very safe exercise and you will find that your upper body, i.e. shoulders, will get a bit of a workout too.

Leg Press Machine

Isolated machine exercise that will help strengthen the gultes.

Kneeling Cable Crunch Exercise

The kneeling cable crunch is a great way to build up ab strength as it targets all your abdominal muscle groups throughout the motion. You are literally working out just your abs throughout the motion, providing your do it correctly.

Lat Pull Down Exercise

A popular exercises amongst body builders, the lat pulldown helps to create a wide winged or athletic V-shape.

Lower Back Stretching Routine

Some light stretching during the days when you are not working out if needed.

Bird Dog Exercise Bridge Exercise Plank Exercise Hyper Extension Bench Exercise Back Extension Machine Cable Crunch Lat Pull Down Leg Press (coming soon)