Note: Perform 1 - 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps of each exercise.
- Ball reverse hyperextensions--lie face down on a stability ball and roll forward until your elbows rest on the floor. Now pull your legs upward without bending your knees while pressing your arms downward against the floor.
- Ball hyperextensions--lie face down on a stability ball with feet braced against the bottom edge of a wall. Now lift your upper body while pressing your feet against the wall.
- Ball sumo squat--place a stability ball between your lower back and a wall. Now spread your feet wide apart and begin squatting with your knees splaying outward.
- Side-lying hyperextensions--lie sideways on the floor. Now lift both legs upward without bending your knees and then pull your hips backward. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and repeat several times before switching to the other side.
- Hip bridges--lie face up on the floor with both knees bent until your heels are near your buttocks. Now push your heels downward and lift your hips upward as high as you can.
- Kneeling hip extensions--kneel down to the floor and then lift one leg up with the knee straight. Now lift the elevated leg up and down without bending your knee.
- Kneeling kickbacks--same as above but this time bend the elevated knee and kick the leg backward before pulling the knee inward.
- Stationary lunges--stand with one foot forward and the other behind you. Slide your back foot further backward for a wide stance position. Now bend the front knee while allowing the back leg to balance your body until your back knee nearly touches the floor and you are pressing from the ball of your back foot into the floor.
- Side-leg raises--lie sideways on the floor in a straight line and then lift one leg upward without bending the knee.
- Plank hip extensions--Get into a plank position on your elbows. Now pull one leg upward without bending the knee.
- Swimmer--lie face down on the floor with your arms in flexion beside your head and legs extended. Now lift one arm and opposite leg without bending the elbow and knee. Then lift the other arm and opposite leg in similar fashion.
- Superman--same as above but this time lift both arms and legs without bending the elbows and knees.
- Cat-dog--kneel on the floor. Now alternate rounding and arching your lower back.
- Child's pose--kneel on the floor with knees splayed outward. Now push your hips backward as you strive to bring your upper body down towards the floor.
- Knee-to-chest--lie face up, bend your legs and then wrap your arms around your knees. Now pull your legs to your body.
- Pelvic tilts--lie face up on the floor with knees bent. Now alternate flattening and arching your lower back.
- Foam roller--place the foam roller on the floor and begin rolling your glutes, hamstrings and lower back on the roller.
This list of exercises is by no means exhaustive but is comprehensive in terms of strengthening the core muscles (i.e., abdominals, lower back, gluteals, and hamstrings) of your body. Performing several of these exercises 3 to 5 times per week will sufficiently strengthen your core, reducing the risk of lower back injury and ameliorate the severity of lower back pain.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."