A sedentary lifestyle or excessive hours behind the desk can result in weak back muscles. These weak muscles will be unable to cope with the stress of physical activities, which could lead to problems like back pain, poor posture or strains. As such, it’s important that you exercise these muscles so they’re strong enough to handle the workload. Your lower back is in charge of all your back and forward bending flexibility and movement, so make sure it is strong enough to handle all that activity. Here are three ways to strengthen your lower back.
Start: Place a sturdy bench about 1 metre in front of a solid piece of furniture. Make sure that you can get your feet under it at about the same height as the bench. Lie facedown on the bench so that your hips are on it but your upper body, starting at the navel, hangs off it. Hook the backs of your heels underneath the piece of furniture behind you. Grab two dumbbells.
Finish: With your back rounded (not straight) and the dumbbells clutched to your upper chest, uncoil your back to raise your upper body. When your torso is parallel to the floor and your back is straight, hold. Then slowly lower to the starting, rounded-back position.
Start: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Rest a light dumbbell on each shoulder with the weighted ends facing forward and backward and the bars sitting on your traps. Hold the front ends of the dumbbells.
Finish: Keeping a slight bend in your knees and the natural arch in your lower back, bend forward at the waist until your chest is almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then push down with your heels as you raise yourself back to the starting position.
Start: Grab a pair of light dumbbells with an overhand grip and lie facedown with your torso rounded over a ball and your legs straight behind you (or you can brace your feet against a wall, if necessary). Hold the dumbbells up near your chest, with your elbows out.
Finish: Do a back extension by uncurling your spine and lifting your chest several inches off the ball. Then, holding this torso position, perform an external rotation by pivoting your upper arms and lifting the weights up toward your ears.
Keep your elbows at the same angle throughout, and keep your upper arms roughly parallel to the floor and perpendicular to your torso. Lower the weights to chest level, then lower your torso to the starting position.