The muscles of the lower back work as back extenders while also supporting your torso and maintaining posture. If you have a weak lower back, you likely experience pain and fatigue in these muscles when standing or working in a bent position. Keep your lower back strong and healthy by performing two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of strengthening exercises on three nonconsecutive days a week.
This exercise targets your back, shoulders and gluteal muscles. Lie face down on the floor with your arms and legs extended. Contract your abdominal muscles, stabilize your spine and slowly raise both legs and both arms a few inches off the floor simultaneously. Hold this position for a count of two, then slowly lower back to the floor.
Back extensions develop the back muscles that run along the length of your spine. Lie face down on a Roman chair and place your ankles under the roller pads. Your pelvic bone should not rest on the support pad. Begin with your torso forward and flexed so that the top of your head points toward the floor. Cross your arms across your chest to avoid flailing them during the exercise. Contract your back muscles to extend your hips and lift your torso to horizontal. Pause, then slowly lower back to the starting position.
Stiff-Leg Dead Lift
Performing a dead lift with straight legs puts more emphasis on the muscles of your back. This exercise strengthens the deep spinal muscles of your lower back. Stand with your feet slightly apart next to a barbell as it rests on the floor. Inhale and bend forward at the waist with your chest forward, back arched, and legs as straight as possible. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Keeping your arms straight and core muscles tight, stand up straight by rotating your hips. Exhale at the end of the movement. Bend forward to return the bar to the floor and repeat the movement. Avoid rounding your back during this exercise.
The forward lean of this exercise strengthens the lower back with an isometric contraction. Stand with your legs slightly bent and grasp a barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulders-width. With your back straight, lean forward at the waist 45 degrees so that the bar is at knee-level. Inhale and hold your breath while your contract your back and abdominal muscles, and pull the bar up to your chest. Lower the bar to the initial position and exhale. Do not round your back during this exercise.
- Strength Training Anatomy, Second Edition; Frederic Delavier
- American Council on Exercise: Supermansrel="nofollow"
- ShapeFit: Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadliftsrel="nofollow"
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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