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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 December 1, 2020

                10 Easy At-Home Leg Toning Workouts for Women

                10 Easy At-Home Leg Toning Workouts for Women

                As you grow older, it becomes hard to balance and have stability in your joints if you’re not engaging in leg toning workouts. You start losing muscle mass, strength, and function over time. Furthermore, if you’re physically inactive, you’ll lose 3 to 5 percent of muscle mass each decade after age 30.

                Thankfully, you can still score your strongest legs ever with the help of leg toning workouts. Strong legs help you support your body better and make you more attractive. Also, they are less susceptible to injuries.

                The best part? You don’t need fancy and expensive gym equipment to fire up those leg muscles. You can do that right at home.

                Ready to get strong? Here are the best at-home leg toning workout moves for women.

                1. Bodyweight Squats

                  The squat is often referred to as the king of all exercises. It’s an amazing way to tone your legs. Not only does it help you build lean muscle, but it also works your abs, butt, and hips. Also, if you’re suffering from back pain, it’s a great option as it doesn’t strain your back when done right. To do a squat:

                  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out.
                  • Bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
                  • Pause for a moment and push yourself back to your original position.
                  • Repeat.

                  For extra support, consider doing this near a wall. Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps twice or thrice a week.

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                  2. Forward Lunges

                    When it comes to strength training, lunges are one of the most popular choices. It strengthens your legs while improving mobility and stability. Lunges also sculpt your butt and abs. What’s more, it can also help improve your posture. In order to do forward lunges properly:

                    • Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand with your feet hip-width apart.
                    • Take a big step forward with your right leg and lower your body into a lunge until both knees are bent 90 degrees.
                    • If possible, lightly touch the floor with your left knee.
                    • Push off on your front foot to bring yourself to the starting position.
                    • Repeat on the other side.

                    Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each leg. You can also do it without dumbbells if you’re just getting started.

                    3. Single-Leg Deadlift

                      Single-leg deadlifts targets all the major muscles, such as hamstrings, glutes, and even your core. It develops strength, balance, and stability. Another advantage of doing single-leg deadlifts is that it improves mobility through the legs and hips. To do a single-leg deadlift:

                      • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
                      • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing the front of your thighs.
                      • Lean forward and shift your weight on the left leg with your right leg extended slightly behind you.
                      • Lift your extended right leg until your body is parallel to the floor, arms hanging down.
                      • Slowly return to the starting position.
                      • Repeat and switch legs after doing all the reps.

                      Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps with a 60 second break in between. If you’re new to this, you can also do it without weights.

                      4. Jumping Jacks

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                        Jumping jacks are an excellent leg toning workout move. They work your quadriceps, glutes, and hips. According to one study[1], they may also improve bone density. Additionally, this exercise also increases strength and agility. Here’s how you do jumping jacks:

                        • Stand straight with your legs together and arms to your sides.
                        • Jump into the air and spread your legs slightly beyond shoulder-width apart while your arms stretch over your head.
                        • Jump back quickly, bringing yourself to the starting position.
                        • Repeat.

                        Start with 3 sets of 10 or more repetitions of jumping jacks.

                        5. Single-Leg Calf Raise

                        See the source image

                          The single-leg calf raise strengthens both your lower legs and helps improve balance on one foot. This is important because it can improve sports performance and prevent injuries. Furthermore, it can also help prevent the onset of knee pain. Finally, it may also increase the size of your calves. To do a single-leg calf raise:

                          • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arms on your hips.
                          • Bend your left knee and bring it hip-level.
                          • Lift your right heel off the ground and balance on the ball of your foot.
                          • Pause for a moment and lower your heel.
                          • Repeat and then switch sides.

                          Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps on each leg. Consider adding weight to make it more difficult.

                          6. Side Lunges

                            This leg toning workout move targets the sides of the glutes and quadricep muscles. It’s also a great exercise for tight hips and groin. Needless to say, it strengthens both your legs and boosts stability. To execute a side lunge the right way:

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                            • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands clasped in front of your chest.
                            • Take a big step out to the right and lower your right knee until it is bent 90 degrees while pushing your butt back.
                            • Keep your left leg straight during the process.
                            • Push back and return to the starting position.
                            • Repeat.

                            Shoot for 10-12 reps and switch sides. Aim for 3 sets on each leg.

                            7. Plank Leg Lifts

                              Plank leg lifts work your butt and upper legs. With this exercise, you’ll also be able to get the benefits of a regular plank, meaning it will tone your whole body. It trains your core, glutes, and shoulders. Even better? It also trims body fat and improves posture. To do a plank leg lift:

                              • Begin in a low plank position with your body straight and weight on your forearms.
                              • Tighten your abs and raise your right leg, pausing for a moment.
                              • Lower your right leg and do the same with your left leg.
                              • Repeat.

                              Do 2-3 sets of 15 reps. Brace your abs and glutes during the process.

                              8. Glute Bridge

                                The glute bridge makes one of the best leg toning workouts for beginners. It sculpts your legs and improves hip mobility. If done correctly, it also enhances core stability. This exercise is also safe for people with chronic back pain. To do a glute bridge:

                                • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your arms at your sides.
                                • Squeeze your abs and glutes.
                                • Raise your hips off the floor until your shoulder, hips, and knees are in a straight line.
                                • Pause for a few seconds and return to the starting position.
                                • Repeat.

                                Shoot for 2 sets of 10-12 reps. Do this 2-3 times a week. You can also wrap a resistance band around your thighs to challenge your endurance.

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                                9. Step-Ups

                                  If you’re looking to strengthen your thighs, step-ups are an excellent choice. It targets the quadricep muscle that helps protect the knee. What’s more, it also improves balance and stability. You can do step-ups anywhere. All you have to do is find a bench, chair or any raised platform. To do a step-up properly:

                                  • Begin standing facing a step.
                                  • Place your right foot on the step and left foot on the floor.
                                  • Press through your right heel and bring the left foot up until your left knee forms a 90-degree angle.
                                  • Hold this position for a moment and then return to the starting position.
                                  • Repeat and switch legs.

                                  Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side. To make it harder, hold dumbbells in your hands.

                                  10. Dumbbell Good Morning

                                  How to Do Good Mornings With Perfect Form | Muscle & Fitness

                                    Dumbbell good mornings mainly target the hamstrings, but they also improve hip and back strength. You’ll also be able to develop stronger glutes with this exercise. Overall, it’s a great exercise for toning your legs. To perform this exercise:

                                    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent while holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level.
                                    2. Hinge forward at your hips, and lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.
                                    3. Hold this position for 4-5 seconds and return to your original position.
                                    4. Repeat.

                                    Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    There are so many benefits of having well-toned legs. Stronger legs not only look good, but they also give you greater independence as you age. Therefore, it’s important to take good care of them.

                                    In addition to exercise, you should also consider exfoliation and moisturization to keep your legs smooth, healthy, and firm. Always remember that strong legs are important if you want to live a healthy and active life. So, start working those leg muscles today, and you’ll thank yourself later.

                                    More Tips on Strengthening Your Legs

                                    Featured photo credit: Sergio Pedemonte via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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