What Workout Can I Do With Lower Back Pain?

If you’re suffering from lower back pain, you might be wondering what kind of workout you can do to get some relief. Here are a few exercises that can help ease your pain and improve your mobility.

Understand Your Pain

Exercise can be a great tool to help relieve lower back pain, but it is important to understand the cause of your pain before you begin. Lower back pain can have many causes such as injuries, misalignments, or degeneration. It is important to understand the source of your pain in order to ensure that the exercises and stretches you do are actually beneficial and not further aggravating your condition.

Talk to your doctor

It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning any type of workout if you have lower back pain. Your doctor can help you determine what type of exercise may be safest and most beneficial for your individual situation. Depending on the source of your lower back pain, your doctor may recommend specific exercises or modifications to traditional workouts. You may be advised to avoid certain activities altogether, particularly if they aggravate the condition that is causing your lower back pain. Before undertaking any new activity, it is important for you to understand and follow all safety guidelines recommended by your doctor. Additionally, it may be beneficial for you to work with a physical therapist or other qualified exercise specialist who can advise you on a regular basis.

Identify the cause of your pain

It is important to identify the cause of your lower back pain before attempting to treat it with physical activity. Improperly treating or exercising with lower back pain can make the condition worse, and some activities are not recommended if you have certain types of injuries or conditions.

The first step in understanding your pain is to determine whether it’s caused by a structural issue, an overuse injury, or a pinched nerve. Typical causes of lower back pain include herniated discs, muscle strains or spasms, arthritis, and sciatica. Depending on the diagnosis, different treatments may be appropriate.

Structural issues often require a period of rest followed by specific strengthening exercises that support the area while protecting it from further injury. Overuse injuries may require adjustments to technique and rest from competing activities until treated appropriately by specialized professionals such as physical therapists and chiropractors. Pinched nerves typically require therapist evaluation for differentiation between true nerve entrapment and muscular spasm causing similar symptoms.

Treating your lower back pain requires patience coupled with following recommended exercises prescribed for you specifically from medical professionals familiar with your diagnosis. Seeking treatment from specialists can help ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and program tailored for achieving optimal results during recovery.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are incredibly beneficial for people who suffer from lower back pain. These exercises help reduce tension in your muscles and joints, increase your range of motion, and also improve your flexibility. Stretching can be done as part of an overall workout routine or just on its own. Let’s explore the various stretching exercises that can help with lower back pain.

Cat-Cow Pose

Cat-Cow Pose is a gentle sequence that helps to stretch and strengthen the spine, abdominals, and back muscles. It is an excellent restorative practice for relieving lower back pain through stretching, increasing range of motion in the spine, and enhancing mobility.

To begin the pose, start in a tabletop position. Place your hands directly beneath your shoulders and hips on the ground. Let your knees rest slightly wider than hip-width apart with your feet flat on the floor. Inhale deeply while you drop your abdomen downwards towards the ground while gently tucking in you lower back up towards ceiling – this is referred to as the Cat position. From here, lightly arch your back as you look up towards ceiling – this is referred to as Cow Pose. Repeat breathing movement for several breaths or 30 seconds until you feel comfortable with the poses movements.

Remember to go at a pace that feels comfortable for you ans stop if you feel too much strain or pain in your lower back area during or after performing this pose

Knee-to-Chest Stretch

The knee-to-chest stretch is a gentle exercise that helps to relieve tension in the lower back and hip muscles. To perform this stretch, lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Begin by gently drawing one knee in towards your chest, embracing it with your arms. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before releasing your hold and repeating the same action with the other leg. Repeat 3-5 times on each side, ensuring that you breath deeply. This low-impact exercise can be helpful in reducing pain and discomfort associated with lower back pain by increasing flexibility in major muscle groups in the abdominal area, hips and lower back.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a gentle, restorative yoga pose that can help to stretch the lower back and provide relief from discomfort caused by lower back pain. This pose helps increase flexibility in the lower back and hips, which can improve overall mobility. To perform the Child’s Pose, begin by kneeling on the floor with your feet together. Sit down on your heels and bring your torso forward between your legs so that you are resting your forehead on the ground. Reach your arms out in front of you, extending them as far as possible while keeping them flat against the ground and slightly bent at the elbow. Hold this position for five to ten breaths, then slowly release and come up into a seated position. This simple exercise can help to alleviate tension in strained muscles and improve flexibility in stiff joints.

Strengthening Exercises

Lower back pain can make it difficult to participate in certain physical activities. However, if done correctly, certain exercises can help strengthen the muscles in your lower back, improve flexibility and possibly reduce pain. This section will explore different types of strengthening exercises that can be done safely with lower back pain.

Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are a great exercise choice for those of you with lower back pain. This exercise works the glutes, hamstrings and lower back muscles while helping to improve spine stability. You can perform this exercise in your home or at the gym using any basic weightlifting equipment such as dumbbells or a barbell.

Glute bridges can help build strength in your glutes, hamstrings and core muscles, making them beneficial for general health and athleticism. This exercise should be performed slowly and with control, focusing on good form to keep your lower back safe from injury.

To begin a glute bridge, lie on your back with feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart and arms out to the side by your sides. Engage your abs by drawing them towards your midline before pushing through your heels as you raise up off the ground until your thighs become parallel with the floor. Lower yourself back down with control before repeating 10 times. Adding resistance to this movement by holding dumbbells against the sides of your hips can increase intensity and importantly build strength in key areas including those targeting lower back pain relief and prevention.

Prone Plank

The prone plank is a great exercise to help strengthen your lower back, glutes, and core. This exercise can be done at home with minimal equipment or at the gym. To do a prone plank, start by lying flat on your stomach with your forearms against the floor and your palms facing up. Your feet should be together with your toes resting gently on the ground. Push into your forearms while contracting your abdominal muscles and squeezing your glutes to bring your whole body off the floor. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds before returning to the starting position. You can also hold a weight in one hand while doing this exercise if you want an extra challenge. Prone planks can help you build strength in both your lower back and core, reducing pain and discomfort in these areas over time.

Bird Dog

The bird dog is an effective exercise for strengthening lower back muscles. It is easy to learn, can be done almost anywhere, and provides great benefits for individuals with lower back pain.

When properly performed, the bird dog exercise provides feedback from each component of the movement to improve lumbar stability. The unique pattern targets the deep core muscles located in the lumbar spinal area, helping to stabilize and protect these areas while providing pain relief. Additionally, bird dog exercises have been known to provide relief from preexisting back pain that leads to improved posture and decreased risk of further injury.

The goal of each repetition is to ensure correct form and full range of motion throughout the body while maintaining a neutral spine position. To begin this exercise you will need a flat surface such as a yoga mat or edge if a carpeted floor. Start on all fours with your knees beneath your hips and your wrists aligned directly beneath your shoulders, then extend one arm out in front at shoulder height while extending one leg back in line with your body parallel with the floor, keeping both legs straight and torso centered for balance. While maintaining this position bring your opposite arm and leg together under your body so that they meet before returning them both out to their starting positions stretching as far as possible on each rep before repeating on the other side for equal reps per side.

Low-Impact Cardio

Low-impact cardio can be a great way to stay active without exacerbating lower back pain. If your lower back pain is mild, low-impact activities such as walking, biking, swimming, or using the elliptical can be a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories. But remember, always talk to your doctor or physical therapist before engaging in any exercise program.


Swimming can be an excellent form of low-impact cardio for those with lower back pain. Swimming allows for a cardiovascular workout with no weight bearing force on the body and can help reduce stress and inflammation in the spine. Since water reduces forces from gravity, the body is able to move in multiple directions, which helps increase flexibility and range of motion in joints and muscles. Additionally, swimming exercises all main muscle groups at once by synchronizing movements and working both sides of the body. While shallow water is beneficial for those seeking a light cardio workout, deep water aerobic activities can add resistance to give your upper and lower body muscles a thorough workout.


The low-impact nature of the Elliptical machine makes it a great choice for those looking to workout with lower back pain. Because these machines allow you to work at an intensity that is largely based on your own guidelines, users can slowly increase their resistance and exercise intensity without having to experience extreme amounts of strain or pressure on their lower back. Additionally, the elliptical is both forward and backward motion so users can isolate different muscles to focus on depending upon which direction they choose.

By keeping the feet fixed in place while training, the elliptical machine allows each foot’s arch and ankle stability to gain strength, making it ideal for those with chronic low back pain or other conditions that limit mobility. As you pedal against resistance with minimal joint impact, this work-out also allows your core muscles and shoulder muscles to strengthen as you move your arms during elliptical use.

Using an Elliptical machine for a low-impact cardio workout is an excellent way for people living with lower back pain to still get in some regular physical activity without exacerbating any existing conditions. To ensure that each user is able to get the maximum benefit out of their work-out, it’s important that they continue proper form while riding the Elliptical by keeping the intense motion constant and avoiding jerky movements or trying to “overpower” through harder moments of resistance. With proper form and usage, you can expect improved cardiovascular endurance alongside increased muscle strength in areas such as hips and glutes – all while protecting your lower back!


Cycling is an effective type of low-impact cardio that can be done with lower back pain. Cycling burns a significant amount of calories but also does not exert pressure on the joints of the body including the lower back. People with lower back pain should opt for an upright stationary bike, recumbent bike, or schwinn wheel over a spinning bike as these alternatives are more comfortable and better support your body position when pedaling.

In addition to being low-impact, cycling does not require heavy amounts of gear, which can also help reduce strain on your back. When starting out on a stationary bike with lower back pain, short 20 to 30 minute intervals are best, gradually increasing in length and intensity as tolerated over time. For example; 5 minutes at 65% effort – 3 minutes at 85% effort – 2 minutes at 100% effort – 5minutes 65% effort – 2 minutes 100% effort (repeat).

Typically 10 to 15 cycles of this format is all that is necessary to increase heart rate, burn fat and improve muscle strength without causing further tension or harm to the lower back. As always it is best to consult a doctor before beginning any type of workout regime if you suffer from chronic lower back pain.

Recovery and Prevention

Having lower back pain can be frustrating and limit your capability to exercise. However, it is possible to work out and even prevent future back pain with the right exercises. In this section, we will explore how to perform exercises for recovery and for prevention, so that you can continue to stay active even with lower back pain.

Take breaks between sets

It is important to take breaks between sets and rest your lower back muscles when training with lower back pain. You should focus on quality over quantity and make sure you are taking regular rests before starting a new set. If you can, try to fit your workout into several short sessions instead of one long one. Break your workout up into short bursts of intense activity, followed by rests in between each burst. Taking regular breaks allows the muscles some time to recover and also helps to prevent re-injury and furthering the pain.

Resting does not mean that you should stop exercising entirely – it simply implies that you need to reduce the intensity of your exercises. Go for low-impact exercises such as yoga, swimming or pilates which are gentle and can help alleviate the lower back pain symptoms. If you have access to machines on an elliptical or exercise bike, use them as they provide an excellent cardio workout whilst allowing for a low impact exercise regime that still works multiple muscle groups with minimal risk of injury or strain on the body.

Stretching is another important form of rest between sets – it helps relax and loosen tight lower back muscles, which can provide relief from muscle contraction caused through strength or endurance training. Concentrating on stretches specific to your core muscles – those in the stomach, belly and hips – can also help support and stabilise the spine during activity while reducing lower back pain symptoms even further

Use a foam roller

Using a foam roller can be an effective way of stretching and relieving tension in your lower back. Foam rolling helps to release myofascial trigger points, which are specific points in your muscles where the muscle fibers become tightly bound together – resulting in pain and tightness. Rolling with the foam roller works to separate those fibers and alleviate discomfort.

In addition to using a foam roller for pain relief, it can also strengthen your lower back; which helps in injury prevention or maintaining fitness with an existing injury. When using the foam roller, there should be no extreme pain or strain while doing so. It may take some practice as well as listening to your body during a roll out session to find what areas need extra attention and how deep you should roll out. A few strategies could include: starting off light, moving through different planes of motion, adding more pressure if needed slowly, or removing pressure if it becomes uncomfortable. When targeting lower back muscles while on the foam roller you want to focus on: glutes ,quadratus lumborum, thoracolumbar fascia (upper part of hamstrings ), erector spinae (large muscle running up your spine), quadratus lumborum extension ,outer hip rotators ,and inner hip rotators . All these stretches all work together to improve flexibility and reduce inflammation from both acute or chronic injuries.

Use heat and ice therapy

Heat and ice treatments are simple, non-invasive methods that can help reduce both pain and inflammation when you’re dealing with lower back pain. Heat therapy helps loosen tight muscles and improve blood flow, allowing the lower back muscles to relax. This can be achieved through a hot shower or bath, a heating pad applied directly to your lower back or by placing a towel soaked in hot water on the area. Try heat therapy for 15 minutes at a time, several times daily. As you are applying heat to your lower back, be sure not to fall asleep — you don’t want to leave heat on the area too long and cause burns.

Ice therapy works in an opposite manner as heat therapy. It helps reduce inflammation by decreasing circulation around the injured area of your lower back, which also reduces pain. An ice pack applied directly to the area can help soothe muscle tension while decreasing swelling and discomfort caused by strained muscles in your lower back region. Try using ice packs during 15 minute intervals every few hours for best results — but steer clear of putting ice directly onto your skin.

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