Arthritis is, perhaps, the commonest disorder that affects our lower back. Therefore, if we have arthritis, a very crucial point needed to be kept uppermost in our mind while performing back strengthening exercises is that of the lower back exercises.
These exercises are usually ignored by most individuals as they mostly concentrate on upper back strengthening exercises which does not yield any desired result except causing injuries and pain. According to experts, because of lower back’s crucial importance in sitting, standing, running and pelvic movements, it is crucial to perform lower back exercises as a regular, daily workout in arthritis. Hence, one cannot ignore his / her lower back muscles while seeking to strengthen the back through effective exercises, as all the lower back exercises (aka spinal erectors) play their conspicuous role in helping the individuals strengthen back of whole of their body.
Following are some of the recommended, time-tested exercises that are designed and performed specially to strengthen the muscles and ligament of your lower back in arthritis:
Side plank exercise
This exercise is perfect for keeping the lower back steady and protected during actions that involve the hips and back.
- Lie on your left side place elbows directly under shoulders.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles while lifting your hips off the floor
- Keep neck in line with spine and hips square
- Hold for 30 seconds then slowly lower hips back to floor
- Repeat 3 times on each side
This exercise forces you to pull the abs up and in against gravity simultaneously working the main muscles of the lower back.
- Lying on your stomach with arms and legs extended in opposite directions; draw your abs up and in hollowing out the pelvis.
- Your head and chest should be slightly elevated with the nose pointing down keeping the neck long and in line with the rest of the spine.
- Inhale as you extend lifting opposite arm and leg, exhale to lower, keep alternating for a 10 count.
This exercise works specifically on the lower back and is so called due to the typical, final position acquired during the workout.
- Lie face down on a mat, with your hands extended over your head.
- Breathe-in and lift your chest and arms off the floor.
- Holding this position, lift your legs off the floor at the same time.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds and lower your legs and upper body at the same time and relax.
- Perform 15-20 reps and 3 sets of this exercise.
Lower back stretching
Some of the most common stretches for strengthening the back muscles are squats, hamstrings, and lunges. They strengthen the calves and the hip muscles.
i-Hip glute stretch: One of the best exercises for the lower back is the hip glute stretch.
- Cross the left foot over your right knee and lock both your hands behind the right thigh.
- Pull the legs closer to your body and maintain the upper body in a relaxed position.
- Repeat the stretches at least 3 times changing positions and switching legs, and also maintain each position for at least 30 seconds.
- Lie down on the floor by bending your knees and straighten one leg.
- Pull the other leg towards you.
- Switch the legs for repeating the exercise.
- Sit on the floor with your feet pressed together and lean forward to put pressure on your inner thighs. This also helps to exercise the back muscles and the thighs.
Back Extensions on the Floor
This is one of the simplest to perform lower back exercises.
- Lie on the floor, face down with your hands at the level of your head.
- Inhale and lift your chest off the floor. As you lift your chest off the floor, bring your arms towards your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Turn your shoulders outwards so that your palms face away from your body.
- Move in a slow and controlled manner, and hold at the top for 1 second before lowering back towards the floor.
- Perform 10-20 repetitions per set, and stretch between sets if your lower back muscles feel tight.
As your back can be injured very easily, you should make every effort to strengthen it. These particular exercises for back strength will go a long way in strengthening the lower back, and adding to your overall body strength.