Lower back pain is frustrating and unfortunately a lot of people wait until their back hurts to seek help. Obviously some injuries are unavoidable, but there is no reason why you can’t have a solid plan to help prevent lower back pain and help avoid these bad times. Our goal here is to show you exercises that strengthen not only your lower back but also your abdominals, an area collectively known as “the core.” The following lower back exercises will help strengthen your core and hopefully help you prevent lower back pain: Plank Hold (Straight Arms) The plank hold is an excellent move as it’ll not only strengthen the lower back, but also work your entire abdominal and oblique region as well. The great thing about the plank hold is that since it’s an isometric contraction, your abdominal core will stay contracted the entire time you’re performing the exercise. Meaning? Great strength boosting results. You’ll also strengthen your arms and shoulders as you hold yourself up. With each ab exercise that we describe, always remember to take controlled breaths in and out during the course of the movement. This will help to control your HR and blood pressure from spiking. Be sure to keep your hips up the entire time this exercise is held. SportsMed Physical Therapy Lower Back Exercises – Straight Arm Plank Plank Hold (Bent Arms) The plank hold with your arms bent is another variation that you can try for increasing lower back strength. To perform this, start with your elbows on the ground directly beneath your shoulders. Your hips should be up so there’s a straight line that forms from the back of your head to the heels of your feet. Keep your abdominals contracted as you hold the exercise for 20-30 seconds at a time. Avoid letting your hips sink down or raising your hips to high; contracting your abs is what should prevent this from happening. Aim to have a straight line from the back of your head to your heels the entire time. SportsMed Physical Therapy Lower Back Exercises – Plank Plank w/ Leg Lift The last plank variation will introduce instability which forces your abs and lower back to work harder to keep you stable, thus making the exercise more effective. Start in the original plank position with arms straight, abdominals contracted, and forming a straight line from the back of your head to your heels. Keep your feet shoulder width apart to make it easier and closer to make it more challenging. Slowly lift one foot straight up off of the ground, pause for a second, then return to the starting position. Aim for 5-10 reps on each side. As you get better at this movement either lift your leg up higher or try pausing for longer at the top position. SportsMed Physical Therapy Lower Back Exercises – Plank w/ Leg Lift Try incorporating some of these exercises into your workout routine. Don’t forget that preventing lower back injuries can be a lot easier than recovering from lower back injuries. Consult with your physician before starting any type of new exercise routine.