Archive for October 21st, 2008

Lower Back Exercises Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Last time I described pull-ups which work the upper back or lats. Today I will give a couple of exercises to work the “all-important” lower back. The lower back is a part of your core muscle group that is frequently referred to as the “most important” because all other exercises directly or indirectly involve working your core. This part of the body is commonly overlooked by people and could lead to unnecessary pain in the future if not properly maintained. Think of the core as the support system for the rest of your body.

A great exercise to work your lower back that can be done anywhere is the “superman.” It is performed by lying flat on the ground, on your belly. Stretch your arms out in front of you until they are straight and then hold your hands together. Simultaneously, raise your arms while raising your legs as high as possible. Keep your legs straight and together, and squeeze your lower back at the top of the motion. Then lower both your arms and legs together. If you are just starting, you might want to rest your arms and feet on the floor between reps, but if you want a better workout, lower them until they are only an inch or two above the floor and then go back up. Another way to increase the intensity of this exercise is to hold the position at the top for several seconds; the rep-length is up to you but obviously the longer you hold, the harder it will be.

Another great lower back exercise is the stiff-legged dead lift, which can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells. The barbell should be held in front of you but the dumbbells can be held either on the side of your body, or in front. I personally prefer dumbbells and keeping them in front of me because I get more motion out of the exercise. With a barbell you are limited to how far down you can go due to of the physical size of the weights, unless you stand on a box. If you choose to use a box, make sure you have good balance and are careful about how much weight you lift. Straining is possible due to excessive weight coupled with overextending your.

Start with the weight on the floor, then keep your feet about shoulder-width apart, slightly bend your knees, and lift the weight up using your back to raise your body to standing position. On this exercise make sure not to bend your knees and start with a low weight because this puts a lot of strain on the lower back and it is a fairly common exercise for injuries. Also, keep your chest out and tighten your lower back on the way up to keep good form. There are many variations to this exercise including bending your knees, but for now use this form and if you want more ideas on how this exercise can be performed- let me know via the comment boxes below.