The Best Low Back Exercise
with Pilates

There are many different ways to do low back exercise.

I feel some of the most effective lower back exercises are done lying prone (on your stomach) or kneeling on all fours.


In a prone or kneeling position gravity is drawing your stomach down.

To counter this you have to simultaneously draw in the deeper abdominal muscles while moving the arms and legs, which now works to strengthen lower back muscles as well.

I have listed below two of what I believe to be the best low back exercise and what I commonly use in my classes, generally towards the end of the class once the students have first properly warmed up the spinal muscles.

Many of these lower back exercises are described along with pictures in the new Pilates Ebook here.

Whether you have low back and joint pain now or have a healthy spine and want to prevent future occurrences this is a great resource to keep your low back happy and healthy.

2 of the Best Low Back Exercise Positions:

low back exercise image


Lying prone or face down with your arms and legs extended. Draw your abdominal muscles up and in feeling the pelvis hollow out and your pubic bone press into the mat.

Keeping your torso stable in this way extend one leg and the opposite arm simultaneously with out rocking the hips off the mat.

Breathe in and out long breaths as you repeat this exercise for 8-12 repetitions on each side moving as quickly as possible.

Doing this exercise for lower back regularly over a few weeks will help to strengthen the erector spinae muscles and the deeper core abdominals and multifidus muscles that surround and protect your spine.

kneeling arm and leg exercise for lower back image


Kneel with your hands directly under your shoulders(armpits) and knees under hips. I like this back exercise for women especially as it helps to strengthen the back, hips, and even the wrist.

Your back should be long and extended from the top of your head out through your tailbone. Then imagine squeezing a gem in your belly button and don’t let it fall out.

Inhale as you extend one leg back raising it just parallel to the floor.

If you feel stable extend the opposite arm. Tighten the abdominal muscles as you stretch long looking out on the mat and strong through your middle.

Alternate for 6-10 repetitions on each side.

Pilates exercises are my favorite way to strengthen lower back muscles working the back and abdominal muscles simulataneously.

These muscles are the deeper multifidus in between each vertebra in your spine and the transverse abdominal muscles that surround and strengthen the spine at it’s deepest level.

Without using this layering technique, or working the muscles from the inside out to strengthen the low back, we cannot effectively improve the condition of our lower back strength.

Sure, we can do low back exercise that strengthens the superficial muscles of the low back, but this does not do much for protecting our spine from the wear and tear on the vertebrae and discs that make up our skeleton.

Leave Low Back Exercise and find more ways to use Pilates for your back health.

Recent Articles

  1. Pilates after Total Knee Replacement

    Apr 23, 20 06:20 PM

    It's 2 op since I had total knee replacement in both knees. In order for them to last it's recommended that you lift not more than 25 lbs. Pilates

    Read More

  2. SI Joint Pain Improved with Pilates!

    Aug 11, 17 12:29 AM

    Dear Jennifer, I just wanted to reach out and thank you for dramatically improving and changing my life. About a year ago, I woke up in debilitating

    Read More

  3. Hip pain after 4 months of Reformer Pilates

    Jul 12, 17 06:44 PM

    Hi, I had a total right hip replacement 8 months ago; I rehabbed really quickly, although I was also (and still am) dealing with L4 spondylolisthesis.

    Read More

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
Visit Jennifer's profile on Pinterest.
Check Out Our #1 Recommended Ebook For Lasting Relief!

Get Instant Access to Loads of Color Pictures, Postures, and Information Designed to Increase Comfort and Happiness.

Learn to Enjoy Life Again!

Learn More!