What’s your weak spot? Is it your biceps? Maybe your calves? Your abs? Most people have a weak lower back. The lower back contains several muscle groups that are integral to every movement the body does and is often overlooked in workouts.
Lower back pain is one of the most common health issues in adults. An Australian study found that four out of five people will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives.
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Your lower back muscles are not built for size. They are built for stabilizing and supporting your spine. A strong lower back is vital to live pain free and have freedom of movement in your daily life.
Strengthening your lower back muscles also helps with balance. Often, people focus on their limbs and not their core leading to a “strong limbs/weak core” scenario. Your lower back muscles make up the posterior portion of your core. If you train your legs and glutes more than your upper body and core, you could increase your chance of specific injuries or conditions simply because some muscles cannot deal with the strength imbalances.
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Low back pain sends millions of people every year to doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, and pain clinics. If you are experiencing back pain currently you should talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. Exercising an aching back is the last thing you want to do. On the flip side, a strong lower back can relieve lower back pain in the long run.
For lower back muscles to be visible, you need a low body fat percentage. To reveal abdominal and other core muscles, most women need to reach a body fat percentage of 16 to 19 percent. The leaner you are the more likely your muscles will show.
How to Get the Perfect Lower Back
When it comes to your lower back, you goal should be to strengthen your lower back for muscle balance and injury prevention. The erector spinae are the primary muscle group that people refer to as the lower back. The latissimus dorsi muscle is another back muscle that can be classified as a lower back muscle as it extends from the lower back up to the shoulders. When working your lower back, it is important to start conservatively to reduce risk of injury.
Stretching is essential to good health, especially for your lower back, which can easily become stiff and sore. Don’t forget to stretch your back (and whole body) after your workout, but never go so far that you feel any sharp pain or discomfort.
Exercises to Get a Beautiful, Toned Lower back
The superman is an excellent no-load exercise to work your lower back. Start by lying face down with your arms fully extended above your head. At the same time, raise your arms, legs, and chest off the floor and hold for a count of two. Slowly begin to lower your limbs back to the starting position.
The bird dog is a popular spinal stabilization and core exercise that has been shown to be a simple and effective movement to reinforce proper spinal alignment and core activation. Start in the all-fours position with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders while looking at the floor. Keep your spine neutral and tighten your ab muscles. Slowly extend your right leg behind you while reaching your left arm forward. Focus on keeping your hips and shoulders square without arching your back. Hold for a count of five. Slowly return to the starting position and switch sides.
Trainer Tip: If the classic bird dog starts to feel too easy, try doing the bird dog on a bench or a Bosu ball.
The stiff-leg deadlift is an intermediate-level strength exercise that works the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. You’ll need a barbell for this exercise. Remember to start with light weights and add more as you build more strength. Most barbells weigh about 45 pounds alone. Stand with your body straight and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slightly bend your knees. Grasp the barbell with your palms facing down and lift to standing position. This is your starting position. Lower the bar to the top of your feet by bending at your hips. Always keep a slight bend in the knees as you descend. Lift the bar back to the starting position by extending at the hips until you are standing upright again.
Trainer Tip: If you have any lower back injuries or currently experience pain or discomfort, do not try the stiff-leg deadlift.
Many women forget to work their lower backs at the gym, but it is a very important muscle group to tone as those muscles stabilize and support your spine. A strong lower back will keep you strong and beautiful for years to come.