Full-length side view of person doing exercise, holding a plank position while in front of a window at the gym

Which gym exercises are best for lower back pain

While it might not sound like the most enjoyable thing in the world when you’re experiencing lower back pain, a trip to the gym can do you the world of good.

A good exercise session reduces inflammation, reduces stiffness and tension, and promotes better blood flow to the muscles and tissues in your lower back, encouraging healing. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, which alleviate pain and can make you feel much better!

So, which exercises are the best to do when you’re experiencing an achy lower back? Here are some of our recommendations, which you can easily do either at the gym or at home.

Looking for more exercises to alleviate back pain? Here are six more stretches we love.

1. Pelvic tilts

Lie on your back with your knees bent, and place your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis upwards, pushing your lower back against the floor. Hold for up to ten seconds and gently release.

2. Plank

Place your hands under your shoulders like you’re going to do a push-up. Push your toes into the floor, raise your back, and hold the position for at least twenty seconds. Planks are most effective when you’ve got your form right – it’s better to do a plank correctly for twenty seconds than incorrectly for five minutes.

If you struggle with regular planks, try a kneeling plank or forearm plank instead.

3. Cat-cow stretch

Start on your hands and knees. Inhale and arch your back, dropping your stomach and lifting your head. Exhale and round your spine upwards, tucking your chin into your chest.

4. Bridges

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, tensing your core and bottom. Hold for up to ten seconds and gently release.

5. Knee to chest stretch

Lie on your back with your knees bent, and place your feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest, hugging it with both arms. Hold for thirty seconds, release and repeat with the other leg.

For a variation on this exercise, try bringing both knees to your chest at the same time.

6. Bird dog pose

Start on your hands and knees with your back flat, not arched. Extend your right arm and left leg out. Hold for between two to five seconds, release, and repeat with your left arm and right leg.

Not in the mood for a stretching session? Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, biking and yoga are great if you have lower back pain.

Whichever exercise you choose, go at your own pace, stay hydrated, and stop if you experience a short, sharp, burst of pain.

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