Lumbar Extensor Strengthening

Lumbar Extensor Strengthening Exercises

Back extension without arms supporting

  • Lying face down, place the arms by the side of the body.
  • Gently pull in the lower stomach muscles to activate the core muscles and protect the spine.
  • Raise the upper body off the floor. Keep breathing throughout the exercise.
  • If you feel any tension in the lower back return to the start position and rest for a few breaths.
  • This will allow the muscles to relax before you perform a second lift.
  • A slightly more challenging option is to then raise the arms off the floor. This will increase the effort of the extensor muscles of the spine.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Back extension with arms supporting

  • Lying face down.Bring the arms to a bent arm position so that the forearms rest on the floor as shown in the photo.
  • Gently pull the stomach muscles in to protect the spine.
  • Gently raise the body off the ground whilst gently resting on the forearms.
  • Avoid using your arms to lift you up, instead lightly rest on the forearms and use your back muscles to lift you. Avoid hyper-extending the spine to avoid ‘pinching’ the lower back.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds and then return to the resting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Plank with knees bent to strengthen the core muscles.

  • The plank is a ‘strong’ exercise.
  • A good way to start is with knees bent.
  • Bend the arms and place the forearms on the floor. With knees bent, keep the trunk of the body off the ground.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and then rest.
  • Over time increase the time in the position to 20 seconds, 30 seconds and eventually 60 seconds. If you start to shake, take a rest.
  • Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Bridge Curl

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip width apart.
  • Slowly and gently lift the spine off the floor one vertebrae at a time.
  • Slowly lower the spine back to the floor, again one vertebrae at a time.
  • If the core muscles are weak, the movement can feel ‘jerky’. Over time, the movement will become more smooth.
  • Repeat the movement 5 times.

Table Top

  • Start in the ‘table top’ position.
  • Gently draw in your lower stomach muscles to activate your core muscles.
  • It is good to imagine that you are keeping a tray on your back with glass of water that you wish to balance.
  • Gently lift one arm whilst maintaining your balance. If that feels easy, then repeat this with eyes closed.
  • Alternate arm lifts.
  • Check that your lower stomach muscle contraction is maintained.
  • Repeat 10 times.


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