Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain

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Written By:
Dr. Fields
November 8, 2021

I think the number one question I get as a Physical Therapist is “What are the best exercises for back pain?”
While that answer will be different for each patient and each situation…… These exercises are a great place to start. The videos below show the basic exercise and a progression for each.

What is important to remember about the vast majority of low back pain is that it is the result of either a lack of mobility, or a lack of stability…..or a combination of both! Low back pain can be the end result of issues at some other joint in the body either above or below the lumbar spine. 

-Are you lacking mobility in your upper spine? Your body will try to compensate for that missing movement in your low back.

-Are you lacking strength and stability in your hips? Your body will try to use the muscles in your low back to compensate. 

-Are your hips tight and have less rotation than you need to swing a golf club? Your body finds that needed rotation in your low back.

-Get the picture? Low back pain is usually a combination of multiple issues in other parts of the body.  The exercises below are a great place to start to begin building strength and stability in your low back to help offset these compensations.

I would also highly recommend visiting a Sports Physical Therapist or other highly qualified Movement Specialist for a movement screen and evaluation to determine what your treatment and exercise plan should be after you have mastered these exercises.

>>>Before you start...
1️. There should be no pain with any of these exercises...a little muscle burn is good, but pain is a no- no.
2️. Brace your core during each exercise. Maintaining a stiff spine and core is key. The idea is for your core to remain rigid and move as little as possible throughout the exercise.
💥 I would recommend reading the section on core bracing in the Livestrong article linked below. It also has some good tips on performing some of these exercises.
3️. Slow, quality reps are the goal. Perform each rep slowly and under control.
4️. Make sure you can perform the basic exercise perfectly before moving on to one of the progressions.
>>>Watch each video full length for the progressions.

💥 Deadbug: 2-3 sets of 10 reps on each side

💥 Bird Dog: 2-3 sets of 6 to 8 reps on each side

💥 Curl Up: 2-3 sets of 5 to 10. Hold each rep 1 to 3 seconds. Make sure your hands are under your low back for support.

💥 Plank: 2-3 reps of 15 to 45 seconds.

💥 Side Plank: 2-3 reps of 15 to 45 seconds.


Patient Resources

We've put together a few helpful resources for you to download wherever you are located. Please feel free to utilize these items and let us know if we can further assist you in your wellness journey.

Hitting Warm Up


Pitching warm up


Running Warm up