Lower Back Strengthening Exercises (Lumbar Spine)
* All exercises are to remind our patients and clients at KH Chiropractic of what was recommended during their visit. All exercises should only be performed within pain free range. Please stop immediately if you feel the exercise is aggravating your complaint and let us know.
We do not recommend these to anyone we have not assessed.
1. Knee to Chest – Sacroiliac Joint mobilisation
The Knee to Chest exercise is a great mobilisation exercise for the lower back and more specifically the sacroiliac joint (aka SIJ or sacral joint). This area can feel particularly stiff after prolonged time sitting or sleeping with the joint in one position. Doing this exercise in the morning can help loosen the joint before you start your day.
2. The Clam – Stage 1 Gluteal Strengthening
This is a gentle starting exercise for back strengthening if you need to work on your gluteal activation. It tends to be a good place to start when you haven’t been activating them correctly or you need to focus on glute strengthening and rebalancing.
3. Side Lying Leg Abductions – Stage 2 Gluteal (Glut) Strengthening
This exercise is a great progression from exercise 4 above. Once you are finding the clam less challenging this is a great progression and helps with lower back strengthening.
4. Glut Bridge – Gluteal (Glut) Strengthening
The glut bridge is a another good exercise to start with following lower back injury. It’s a good idea to get a healthcare professional to show you this back strengthening exercise first and to make sure you are ready to start building up your lower back strength. If your back is too sore sometimes it’s important you wait until the inflammation has settled before exercise.
5. Hip Hinge progression to a Box Squat
Following back injury it is important to look at your day to day posture. We are frequently leaning over to pick up things, brush our teeth, wash up, change a babies nappy etc.
But where are we getting our movement from?
If we analyse most people’s lifting posture we will note that they immediately bend over recruiting their lower back and associated muscles. The lower back is not designed to take forward forces like this and therefore is more vulnerable when we choose to lift in this manner. Instead we should use our hips which are a ball and socket joint, designed to move in multiple directions. The hips should be used to hinge. When combined with the power generated from our gluts you will achieve a safer more appropriate movement pattern.
First practice the Hip Hinge:
Stand with neutral spine and feet shoulder width apart. Abdominals and gluteals should be actively switched on to maintain alignment. Hinge directly at the hips pushing your buttock backwards, while maintaining a straight back (like there’s a rod down it). Maintain alignment from your head to sacrum and keeping your shoulder blade gentle drawn in together.
To progress to the Box Squat:
Start with the hip hinge in front of a stool. Once you have hinged through your hip joint and pushed your buttock back as far as you can while maintaining spinal neutral throughout the rest of your spine, start bending the knees. If you are facing a mirror (which is a great idea), watch your knees in case they buckle. Sometimes when the key knee stabilisers (VMO) is weak the knee will wobble. This needs further attention and strengthening if you notice this. Putting the bench / stool slightly further back so you have to reach more encourages better form. When you reach the stool you should be perched on the edge. Maintain your abdominal contraction when you reach the stool, if you ‘let go’ your form will become poor. When you are ready to stand back up, do not lead with your head. Instead squeeze your buttock, push through your heels and look up, this will help encourage you to drive straight up rather than forward. This good squat movement pattern will help you to achieve a safer and more effective workout.
6. Glut and Piriformis Stretch
The gluts and Piriformis often get tight so this is a great stretch to get in the habit of doing daily. This stretch is particularly useful when muscles become imbalanced when suffering from lower back pain. Please only do this exercise if your Chiropractor has recommended this to you.
Lay on your back with your head and spine flat to the floor (no twisting). There are two approaches often ‘1’ is the best to start with especially if you feel really restricted or unable to reach your leg with both hands.
Option 1. Lay flat to the floor and take your right foot, lifting it across the left knee. Use your left hand gently pull your knee across a little more, so you feel a pull in the right buttock. Be careful your pelvis does not lift off the floor, you may only be able to apply a small stretch to start. This should improve as your flexibility improves.
Option 2. Lay flat on the floor. Bend your left knee up, leaving your left foot firmly in contact with the floor. Cross your opposite ankle across the left knee. Loop your hands round your left thigh, interlinking your fingers at the back. Gently pull the left leg towards you, still maintaining contact of your spine to the floor. You should feel a stretch in the right buttock, pull a little more if you don’t. If your pelvis starts to twist or lift off the ground reduce your stretch.
These lower back strengthening exercises are here to remind our patients after they have been taught how to do them in clinic. We recommend you have a full Chiropractic assessment before starting any of exercises. This will allow our practitioners to guide you on the most suitable exercises for your individual complaint. To book a Chiropractic appointment call us on 0203 633 0565 or book online.
* All exercises are to remind our patients at KH Chiropractic of what was recommended during their visit. We do not advise anyone who has not been recommended these by a healthcare professional to takes part in them. As will have been explained to you all exercises prescribed should only be done within your pain free range. Please stop an exercises that aggravate your complaint and let us know.