Top 10 Lower Back Pain Exercises

Why Lower Back Pain Exercises Are Important?

Most people who suffer from lower back pain have this misconception that they need plenty of rest and refrain from activity for some time. In fact resting, especially on bed, is not desirable. If you do not experience any other serious medical conditions, other than back pain, then you should stay active.

You should be able to start exercising when you no longer feel any acute pain. Lower back pain exercises will help you to recover and also prevent from future back pain. Right types of exercises will:

  • Improve your posture
  • Improve flexibility and strengthen your back
  • Reduce weight
  • Prevent falls

A complete Lower Back Pain Exercises program includes:

  • Low impact aerobic activity such as swimming, walking and bicycling to improve blood flow and help speed up recovery and maintain your health.
  • Strengthening exercises for your back, stomach, and leg muscles.
  • Stretching exercises to condition your muscles and supporting tissues to be more flexible
  • Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi combines low-impact movement and meditation. These are very helpful in preventing recurrences of lower back pain as they are designed to achieve a physical and mental balance.

Top 10 Exercises for Lower Back Pain

1   Partial crunches strengthen the abdominal muscles

Partial crunches

Partial crunches

Lay your back on the floor with knees bent and shoulders raised slightly. Exhale as you raise your shoulders, and inhale on the way down. Do this slowly 8 – 10 times with the arms across the chest or hands behind your neck. Do not pull your neck up with your arms. Gradually increase the number of repetitions as you get physically stronger. This exercise strengthens your back and stomach.


2   Pelvic Tilts

Lay on your back, bend your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor.Press your lower

Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic Tilts

back into the floor. Tighten your buttocks muscles.Hold for five second while inhaling and out smoothly while exhaling. When you are comfortable with this exercise, hold your breath for 10 seconds and put your feet farther away from your body.



3   Wall Sits

Wall Sits

Wall Sits

Stand with your back against a wall with your feet apart at shoulder width and about one foot from the wall. Slide your back down slowly until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Your back must be against the wall at all times. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and then slide your back up the wall. Repeat this process 5 to 8 times, depending on your fitness level. Increase your hold time by 5 to 10 seconds as you are more comfortable.



4   Assisted Hamstring Stretches

Use a rope, belt or a piece of towel to assist you in this exercise. Lie on your back with legs

Assisted Hamstring Stretches

Assisted Hamstring Stretches

extended. Raise the leg that is wrapped with the towel into the air and straighten the knee. Pull the towel so that your toes bend towards your face. If you do not feel the stretch on your hamstring, pull harder and raise your leg higher. Hold for about 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat 3 times for each leg.



5   Press-up Back Extension

Press-up Back Extensions

Press-up Back Extensions

Lie on your stomach with your forearms supporting your body. Push your hands downwards to raise your shoulders. Relax your stomach and allow your back to arch slightly. Make sure your hips and pelvis remain on the floor. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, and then relax. Repeat 3 times.


6   Knee to Chest

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently bring one knee up toyour chest until you feel the stretch in your lower back. Keep the other foot either flat on the floor or extended. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Switch leg and repeat the process a few times.

Knee to Chest

Knee to Chest


7   Bridging

Lie on your back with knees bent and your feet either flat or heels on the floor. Tighten



your abdominal muscles and squeeze your buttocks. Raise your hips off the floor until your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly lower your hips to the floor and relax.  Repeat about 10 times. Use your hands to balance your body and avoid pressing downwards to help with the lift. Use only your shoulders and feet for the downward force.

8   Bird Dog

Bird Dog

Bird Dog

Kneel on the floor with both hands firmly placed apart about shoulder-width. Tighten your abdominal muscles, lift and extend one hand and the opposite leg while balancing on the other hand and knee. Hold for 10 seconds then return to hands and knees on ground position. Repeat using the other hand and leg. Do 5 repeats on alternate hands and knees.

9   Cat and camel

Kneel down on all fours and keep your head straight so that you are staring at the floor. Exhale and slowly turn your face toward the ceiling while allowing your lower back to “sag” slowly into an arch. Do not force it down. Inhale and then arch your back in the opposite direction by contracting your lower abdominal muscles as you lower the top of your head toward the floor. All motion should be initiated and controlled by your lower back. Repeat three times in each direction.

Cat and Camel

Cat and Camel

10   Hip Roll

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Fold your hands

Hip Roll

Hip Roll

across your chest or flat on the floor at your sides.Roll your knees to the left until they touch the floor, without moving your upper body. Hold for 3 seconds.Return to starting position and do the same movement to your right this time. Do about 10-15 reps for each side.


Select five exercises to do per session and the other 5 the next. Rotate them on subsequent days. All the exercises should be done on a firm but soft surface, like a yoga mat or carpet. If you feel any pain, stop immediately.
A physiotherapist can help you to decide when and what stretching and strengthening exercises are appropriate and how to do them to alleviate your lower back pain.

You should refrain from participating in these activities during recovery:

  • Golf
  • Contact sports
  • Racquet sports
  • Jogging
  • Dancing
  • Weight lifting
  • Sit-ups
  • Toe touches while standing
  • Leg Lifts (Lifting both legs while lying on your back).

Ask your doctor or physical therapist whether there are additional exercises that will work best for you.

Repetition of the lower back pain exercises will help you increase flexibility, build endurance, and strengthen specific muscles to support your spine.  These exercises will expedite your return to normal work and social activities. The positive benefits of exercise not only improve strength and flexibility but also change and enhance your attitudes toward your disability and pain.


27 Responses to Top 10 Lower Back Pain Exercises

  1. Pingback: Back Pain Heals Better With Yoga - New research |

  2. I think it is so important to combine chiropractic care with exercise. I applaud you for giving specific back strengthening exercises. The directions and accompanying photos are easy to follow. Great post.

  3. Victor says:

    You have done well with your write-up. It is simple, clear, concise and compelling.

  4. Vijay V says:

    Your article is the best article that I have read on the internet compared to other websites. Your article is simple to understand and you have shown pictures of various back exercise positions at the right places. Back pain is one of the most horrible pain that humans experience and if we can strengthen the required muscles, it will help to get rid of pain and will improve his confidence and attitude towards managing pain. Keep positing such articles.

    • Jack Woo says:

      Hi Vijay

      Thank you for the compliment. Glad you like reading my articles and hope you will continue to visit my site.

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  21. Samantha Glover says:

    Thank you so much for this article.. I have been searching for exercises I could do for months. I was losing hope until I discovered your website. After an on the job injury, physical therapy, and 3 procedures I was told there was nothing else they could do for me. The orthopedic spine specialist basically said “good luck” and discharged me. I am determined that this pain will no longer run my life. I have changed my eating habits to strictly clean eating and now that I have found your site (which will be bookmarked), I feel as is I have the tools to not only manage my pain, but overcome it, without the help of narcotic pain medication. I will do this! Again, thank you!

    • Jack Woo says:

      We are pleased you have found the exercises on our website useful. If you do these exercises everyday and you will fit and healthy.

  22. Bobby says:

    Wow great article on Exercises and stretches 10 simple ones that work well everyone.
    I have sciatica issues and I tried just a few of these and they really seemed to take the edge off the pain and it’s good to do anyway.

    It seems the more I do the better I feel with my sciatica nerve pain, I do a few in the morning and then I do some at night as well.

    Thanks Jack for all the great info,


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