How to Strengthen Your Lower Back
There are several things you can do to strengthen your lower back. First, you should work on improving posture. Yoga can help you build muscle memory and endurance for good posture. Second, you should increase the strength of your abdominal muscles to support your lower back. There are simple abdominal exercises you can do at least twice a week.
A Strong Lower Back
A strong lower back is synonymous with good posture, and good posture is the foundation of most yoga poses. Just about every yoga pose emphasizes lengthening your spine and engaging your abdominal muscles, two very important components of good posture. If you practice yoga every day for 30 to 60 minutes, you can build muscle memory to support good posture throughout the rest of your day. If this is too much commitment, you can still see positive benefits if you practice yoga just once or twice per week.
Core Muscle Strength
People with a weak lower back typically have weak abdominal muscles. It's important to strengthen your abdominal muscles to support your lower back. Strong ab muscles can reduce the curvature in your lower back, which is a sign of weak lower back muscles. By reducing the curve, you create proper alignment in your lower back and improve your posture. With proper alignment, the lower back muscles will get stronger and gain endurance so that you can support good posture throughout your day.
Target Your Abdominals
Supta Baddha Konasana Crunches are a specific exercise that will strengthen your abdominal muscles so that your lower back is supported. Lie on your back with the soles of your feet together and your knees open like a book. Cradle the back of your head in your hands to support your neck. Engage your abdominal muscles and press your lower back to the floor. As you exhale, contract your abdominals and lift your chest up toward the ceiling. Try to get both shoulder blades off the floor. As you inhale, lower down. Do eight to 12 reps and two to three sets.
Work Your Obliques
Bicycle sit-ups will strengthen your obliques so that you have greater core muscle control to stabilize your lower back. Lie on your back with your knees bent over your hips and your legs at a 45-degree angle. Pull your belly in and press your lower back against the floor. Interlace your hands behind your head to support your neck. As you exhale, lift your chest up toward the ceiling and twist, bringing your right elbow toward your left leg, but keep your left knee stacked over your hip. At the same time as you twist, extend your right leg straight out. As you inhale, lower down. Repeat the exercise on your other side. Do eight to 12 reps and two to three sets.
Based in Denver, Jessica Owens is a yoga teacher and a writer. She began writing in college for the school newspaper and currently writes for online publications about health and wellness. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamilton College in 2009.