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.
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 OPPOSITE ARM AND LEG EXTENSION:
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.
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