Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
Weak back muscles are one of the leading causes of lower back pain and even back injuries.
Chronic lower back pain can really get in the way of your day-to-day life, but the good news is that as long as there are no additional medical causes behind this pain, you may be able to resolve it with some simple exercises.
Because working out the lower back with weights can be dangerous if you’re already experiencing pain in this area, none of the exercises we’ll be recommending in this article involve the use of weights.
Instead, we’ll be focusing on bodyweight exercises.
Causes Of Lower Back Pain
Before we begin, there are many potential causes of lower back pain, and not all of them can be resolved with lower back exercises.
Some of the main causes of lower back pain include:
- Injuries to the nerves
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated discs
- Compression fractures
- Neurological conditions
- Some cancers
For this reason, you should see your doctor about any persisting lower back pain before attempting to resolve it with exercise.
You should always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen anyway, but having your lower back pain checked out professionally will ensure that serious causes are ruled out.
Top 5 No-Weight Lower Back Exercises
1. Lateral Leg Raise
If your hip abductor muscles are weak, you might find that in addition to pain in your lower back, you experience difficulty balancing and generally moving around.
To correct weak hip abductors, you should incorporate lateral leg raises into your workout routine.
Start by lying down on the ground on one side. Then, contract your core muscles. This should feel like you’re pulling your belly button close to your spine.
Don’t skip this step as it will help to keep you stable throughout the exercise. Lift your top leg, taking care not to move any other parts of your body.
Hold this position for a couple of seconds before lowering back down.
Make sure you’re not doing more leg raises on one side than the other or you could end up with uneven strength levels across your lower back, which could cause further problems.
2. Partial Curl
Did you know that working on your abdominal muscles can help to strengthen your lower back without any additional weights?
The partial curl is an ab workout move that will help to keep your hips in alignment while improving your core strength and lower back stability, reducing back pain in the process.
Simply lay back on the floor, bending your knees so that your feet sit flat on the ground. The best position for your hands is crossed across your chest.
Drawing your belly button up to your spine, lift your shoulders off the ground. Don’t lift too far – just a few inches will do.
Be careful not to crane your neck forward as this will cause your shoulders to round.
This exercise is best repeated for 3 sets of 15 if you want to see results quickly.
3. Drawing In
This is a deceptively simple exercise but it’s really effective for strengthening the lower back and reducing any pain in that area.
You’ve probably noticed that for both of the exercises we’ve recommended so far, we’ve stressed the importance of engaging the core muscles by drawing the belly button towards the spine.
When you do this, you’re specifically engaging the transverse abdominis, which plays a large role in strengthening and stabilizing the lower back.
All you need to do for this exercise is lie down with your feet flat on the floor at about hip-width from one another.
Focus on contracting your transverse abdominis by pulling your belly button inward, making sure not to flex your hips at the same time.
For optimal results, you’ll need to hold the contraction for about 5 seconds before releasing. Repeat the exercise 5 times.
If your glutes (especially your gluteus maximus) are weak, you may experience instability, weakness, and pain in your lower back.
So, if you’re being troubled by back pain or simply feel that your lower back is a weak point in your physique, working your gluteus maximus is a must.
One of the best glute exercises out there if you don’t want to use weights is the bridge.
Once again, you’ll start on your back with your knees bent and your feet firmly planted flat on the ground. Make sure they’re hip-width apart!
Keeping your hands on either side of your body, contract your glutes and push upward so that your hips leave the ground.
Keep lifting until you have formed a straight line with your body from your knees to your shoulders. You should hold this pose for at least 10 seconds, or 15 if you can.
Lower back down and repeat until you have completed 3 sets of 15. You should notice that your lower back feels stronger after a few weeks of this exercise.
This exercise is called the superman because of the positioning of your arms and legs, but more importantly, you’ll feel like superman once you’ve used this workout move to strengthen your lower back!
Lay on your stomach on the floor with your arms stretched out in front of you and your legs out behind you. Now, lift both your feet and hands about 6 inches off the floor.
You should feel the stretch in your lower back. Deepen the contraction by pulling your belly button inward and reaching your hands and feet as far as you can from your body.
Don’t be tempted to try and look up at this point because you might hurt your neck – just look down at the floor in front of you.
You only need to hold this position for about 2-3 seconds before you can lower back down to the floor. You will need to repeat the exercise at least 10 times, though.
Working out any area of the body to correct pain can be tricky because you don’t want to accidentally make the pain worse by overdoing the exercise or using the wrong form.
If, at any point during these exercises, you experience severe pain, please stop and seek medical advice.
Again, please consult your doctor before doing any of these exercises to correct lower back pain.
There are many potential causes of pain or instability in the lower back and some cannot be fixed by strengthening this area, so it’s important to identify the root cause of your lower back weakness or pain before starting a new workout routine.
When it comes to lower back strengthening exercises that don’t require any weights, you have plenty of options.
Strengthening the lower back actually involves engaging lots of different muscles around the lower body, from the glutes to the hip abductors.
If you want to feel results quickly, make sure you’re completing the recommended number of sets and reps for each exercise 2 to 3 times per week.
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