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5 Effective Yoga Exercises For Lower Back Pain

5 Effective Yoga Exercises For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is something many individuals deal with on a daily basis while others may just suffer occasionally from lower back pain. Whatever the case, there is one style of exercising that can dramatically help with lower back pain provided it’s done with correct form.

So, what is it? Yoga! There are many yoga poses that can help with lower back pain, but there are a few that are more effective than others. When doing yoga poses for lower back pain, be mindful to keep your back strong and in proper alignment.

As always, you should also listen to your body and not push it to the point of pain no matter what kind of exercises you’re doing. However, after a long day or injury, this exercise for lower back pain can help you feel better quickly when done correctly and mindfully!

Exercises for Lower Back Pain:

1. Extended Triangle

This pose is my personal favorite exercise for lower back pain. It’s wonderful if you have tightness and need to improve your flexibility.

    Yoga Journal

    Extended triangle pose is quite easy to perform and is mostly self-explanatory. Start out by putting one leg in front of the other and then twisting to the side, reaching your right (or left) hand down to the corresponding foot. Focus on keeping your lower back strong and straight, and look up at your opposite hand for the best flexibility effects.

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    Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds, and then slowly stand up while keeping your back straight. Then do the exercise on the opposite side.

    2. Cat Pose

    Cat pose (also referred to as cat cow pose) can dramatically help you stretch out your back and core. It mimics the way a cat curls and arches its back, going back and forth in between both ranges of motion. You want to arch your back and then curl it under keeping your posture intact, not putting too much pressure on your spine.

      Yoga Journal

      To do the pose, start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Make sure your shoulders and hands are in alignment with one another and also be sure that your hips and knees are in alignment with one another. Move your back up and down, arching it up and down (gently) for 30 seconds or so. Focus on keeping your core tight during this so you don’t pull anything.

      3. Bridge Pose

      Bridge pose is great for strengthening the overall core, back, and even toning your hamstrings and buttocks. You can choose to do this exercise exactly how it appears without moving, or you can practice lowering up and down between the ground and the final position.

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        Yoga Journal

        To do the pose, lie down on the floor with your knees bent. Keep your heels as close to your buttocks as possible, but also not curved up under you too much. Place your hands by your side, and gently start to lift your buttocks and hips upward at one time. Hold for 30 seconds, and then lower back down to starting position. Do this exercise 10-15 times or so.

        4. Half Lord of the Fishes

        Half Lord of the Fishes sounds fancy, but it’s really simple to perform in all actuality. The main thing to focus on during this position is to keep your back straight the entire time as you twist to one side and then switch positions twisting to the other. Half Lord of the Fishes will help you stretch your back while also tone your core.

          Yoga Journal

          To do this exercise, start with sitting on the floor with your feet and knees crossed in front of you. Then lower one knee up to the opposite side (as shown), and place your opposite hand on top of that knee. Start turning to the side to twist, and twist as far back as feels comfortable to you. You should feel a nice stretch, not a harsh pull.

          5. Upward Facing Down and Downward Facing Dog

          I’ve paired these two exercises together, because even though they are technically two separate exercises, you’ll get a much better stretch and range of motion if they are done together in a sequence. Just remember to keep your back strong while doing these exercises and be mindful of how your body feels when doing them so you don’t pull anything.

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          Step 1:

            Yoga Journal

            In Downward Facing Dog, start standing up straight, and then lower your hands down like you were going to touch your toes, but bend forward in a straight manner with your back as you do so. Place your hands on the floor, out in front of you and let your feet stretch out on the floor behind you (as shown) while your body resembles that of an upside down triangle. (It may help to use a mirror to help you check your form the first few times you try this pose.) Focus on how your back feels the entire time you do this pose, and hold for 30 seconds.

            Step 2:

              Yoga Journal

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              Now, you’ll move down to Downward Facing Dog to get a full range of motion with this exercise. As you lower your hips down, your feet will extend backward and your core will help support you. Your hands will only come back a little bit. Picture your body like it’s a rubberband expanding and contracting in between both movements. When done correctly, this entire sequence can help relieve lower back pain fairly quickly.

              There are many other kinds of exercise for lower back pain such as lifting weights, walking, and basic stretching; I just find yoga the most helpful for improving long-term flexibility and keeping my body pain-free on a regular basis. Yoga poses for lower back pain can also be wonderful tools if you work a desk job and need to do a few poses when you get home to help assist with the effects of sitting all day, and they’re especially useful during travel if you can’t access a gym for a regular workout.

              Exercise for Lower Back Pain

                See more beneficial yoga exercises for a healthy body here, and if you’d like additional information on yoga poses such as these above, you can also check out Yoga Journal’s resources. And remember, there’s no need to neglect your back when there are plenty of wonderful options when it comes to finding the right exercise for lower back pain that best suits you!

                Featured photo credit: Dave Rosemblum/Flickr via flic.kr

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                Last Updated on October 15, 2020

                10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

                10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

                Are you having a hard time going to the gym for strength and conditioning? Do you want to work on your lower body strength but aren’t sure where to start? In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 lower body workouts anyone can try at home. No gear is needed for these workouts, just some space and a bottle of water waiting nearby.

                What Do Lower Body Workouts Target?

                When you tackle a lower body workout, you’ll be focusing mostly on leg workouts that strengthen your thighs and calves

                .

                However, a lower body workout can also be great for strengthening your hips, glutes, and core, as well as stabilizing your knee and ankle joints[1].

                Major muscle groups for lower body workout

                  Building lower body strength is key to helping you move through your day without pain and stiffness[2]. It can also help you achieve your other workout goals.

                  Do you want to train for a marathon? You’ll definitely need to build up your leg muscles. Do you want to start endurance training? It’s hard to do if your legs and glutes get tired before your heart rate goes up.

                  To get started, try a lower body workout from the list below.

                  10 Great Lower Body Workouts

                  This will give you an overview of some workout combinations that will help you build lower body strength using your own body weight. In the next section, we’ll go deeper and give you an overview of each major exercise.

                  1. The Starter Workout

                  3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

                  • Squat
                  • Single Leg Deadlift
                  • Glute Bridge

                  (30 sec to 2 min rest between each set)

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                  2. The 7-Minute Workout

                  3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

                  • Walking Lunges
                  • Quarter Squat
                  • Step Up
                  • Single Leg Deadlift

                  (1 min rest between each round)

                  3. The Unilateral Workout

                  4 sets of 16 reps of:

                  • Reverse Lunges
                  • Single Leg Deadlift
                  • Skater Squat
                  • Single Leg Glute Bridge

                  (30 sec to 1 min rest between each set)

                  4. The Endurance Workout

                  2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

                  • Squat
                  • Walking Lunge
                  • Single Leg Deadlift
                  • Glute Bridge

                  (1-2 min rest between each set)

                  5. The Back-to-Back Lower Body Workout

                  5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

                  • Skater Squat
                  • Step Up
                  • Single Leg Deadlift
                  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
                  • Quarter Squat

                  (30 min rest between each round)

                  6. Strength Lower Body Workout

                  5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

                  • Walking Lunge
                  • Single Leg Deadlift
                  • Squat

                  (30 sec to 2 mins of rest time between sets)

                  7. Glute Burner Workout

                  4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

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                  • Walking Lunge
                  • Single Leg Deadlift
                  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
                  • Quarter Squat

                  (1 min of rest time between sets)

                  8. The Advanced Lower Body Workout

                  3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

                  • Squat
                  • Walking Lunge
                  • Skater Squat
                  • Reverse Lunge
                  • Glute Bridge
                  • Single Leg Deadlift

                  (2 mins of rest time between sets)

                  9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

                  2 sets of 10 reps of:

                  • Reverse Lunge
                  • Step Up
                  • Single Leg Deadlift

                  10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

                  2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

                  • Walking Lunge
                  • Single Leg Deadlift

                  (4 mins of rest time between sets)

                  Lower Body Workout Exercise Breakdown

                  Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[3] that you found in the workouts listed above.

                  1. Squat

                  Squat
                    A squat is a compound movement which uses the major muscle groups of the lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).
                    How to Do a Squat

                    Place feet hip-width apart or a little wider. Your toes should be pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drive through the heels, return to the starting position, and repeat.

                    2. Walking Lunges

                    Walking lunge for lower body workout

                      A lunge is a complex movement that focuses mostly on thigh and knee strength, but it also gets into the glutes and core.

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                      The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat, which is stationary. It then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance, which engages the gluteus medius, as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

                      3. Reverse Lunge

                      Reverse lunge

                        A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat, but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

                        By reverse stepping, you are allowing for more emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

                        4. Quarter Squat

                        Quarter squat for lower body workout

                          A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps.

                          5. Skater Squat

                          Skater squat

                            A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion, which fires up both the hamstrings and glutes.

                            6. Step up

                            Step up for lower body workout

                              The step up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing steps up during a lower body workout will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

                              7. Glute Bridge

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                              Glute bridge

                                Glute bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension, which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                                8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                                Single leg glute bridge for lower body workout

                                  Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt.

                                  9. Single Leg Deadlift

                                  Single leg deadlift

                                    Single leg deadlifts engage the entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts and engage the core while you’re at it.

                                    Before and After Working Out

                                    Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up.

                                    Even if you’re doing an at-home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[4] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                                    Try these quad stretches to get started:

                                    Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    Completing a lower body workout can help you look and feel great, but it can also help you engage more fully with your daily activities and keep you healthier in the long run. Get started with any of the above exercises today.

                                    More on Strengthening the Lower Body

                                    Featured photo credit: Benjamin Klaver via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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