Yoga to Strengthen Lower Back
Your oblique, abdominal and lower back muscles form your body's core and play a central role in how well your body moves and performs both daily activities of living and sports and fitness activities. A weak lower back can hinder effective movement and lead to pain. Yoga offers an easy, low-impact way to strengthen lower back muscles. A few yoga poses done daily can strengthen your lower back and improve the way you move and feel.
Cat-Cow pose gently strengthens and stretches the back muscles. It also helps warm up the spine to prepare it for more intense postures.
- Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Assume a neutral spine.
- On an inhale, let your belly drop down toward the mat and lift your hips and shoulders. Broaden across your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down.
- As you exhale reverse the position, arching your mid-back and tucking your pelvis. Broaden across your shoulder blades and bring your chin toward your chest.
- Repeat, alternating between the two positions for a total of 10 rounds.
Locust pose strengthens the entire back.
This sitting posture might seem easy, but it's more complex than it looks. Staff pose strengthens the lower back and helps you strengthen the other muscles needed to sit with correct posture.
- Sit on your mat with your legs extended and together. Align your shoulders over your hips and sit on the front of your sitting bones. Place your palms on the mat next to your hips. Rotate your inner thighs down so your toes point up toward the ceiling, and flex your feet.
- Extend the crown of your head up to lengthen your spine, and press your palms into the mat. Roll your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down. Contract your core muscles.
- Hold here for five to 10 slow, deep breaths. Hold for up to two minutes as you get stronger.
Reverse Table Top Pose
Reverse Table Top is an intense strengthener for your back, glutes and hamstrings. It also stretches and strengthens your arms and shoulders.
- From a sitting position, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Place your palms on the mat about 8 to 12 inches behind your hips.
- On an exhale, press into your feet and palms and lift your hips up toward the ceiling until your back body is parallel to the floor.
- Hold the pose for five to 10 deep breaths. Release and then repeat one or two more times.
- You can make the pose more challenging by walking your feet out until your legs are straight.
Locust pose is an intense strengthener for the whole back. It also stretches the chest, abs and hip flexors.
- Lie on your stomach with your legs extended and your arms alongside your body, palms down.
- Exhale as you lift your legs, chest and arms off the mat. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and broaden across the chest. Reach back with your feet so your legs are fully extended. Reach through your fingertips, and keep the back of your neck long.
- Hold the posture for five deep breaths. Release and repeat one or two more times.
- Yoga Basics: Shalabhasana Locust
- Gaia: Ardha Purvottanasana: The Reverse Table Top Pose
- YogaOutlet.com: How to Do Seated Staff Pose in Yoga
- YogaOutlet.com: How to Do Cat-Cow Pose in Yoga
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Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta, GA. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland, and she is a certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and yoga teacher. She has written for various online and print publications, including Livestrong.com, SFGate, Healthfully, and Chron.com. Visit the writer at www.JodyBraverman.com.