Build Up Your Lower Back Strength With This 4-Move Series

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

If you sit for too long, you’re probably going to experience some low back pain. You might think that ailment comes from an issue with your posture—maybe you hunch forward too much, so that you’re back is more rounded than straight. You might not be totally wrong. But the reason you’re feeling achey where you are might not be why you expect.

“I think people immediately assume their low back pain is associated with the low back—but more often than not it’s typically because of the joint right below, the hip,” says trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S.

If you want to be proactive to prevent this malady, try supplementing your workouts with exercises to help reinforce the connection the lower back has with the muscles of the pelvis/hips by building strength. “The muscles of the low back stabilize the spine, while the muscles of the hip are what moves the spine,” says Atkins. “Thus, hip dominant or butt exercises are what are going to help strengthen the lower back.”

Atkins shared this four-move bodyweight workout as a quick way to do just that, which you can use as part of your routine or as a standalone series. (You can also try the stretches in the article linked above, or these exercises.)

But remember, if you’re feeling more than just an ache, don’t try to work through the hurt yourself. “Obviously get checked out by your doctor, especially if pain is chronic,” Atkins says.

Complete 10 reps of each exercise with a 3-second pause at the top (isometric hold)

Hip Raise – Pause at the top, lower down slowly

SwimmersLift your thighs and opposite arm off the ground, just enough to feel the contraction in the back with a 3-second pause

Single-Leg Hip Raise

Hip Hinge – Stand in front of a wall, then press the tailbone to the wall as you hinge

“Instead of banging these exercises out, try slowing everything down and connecting your breath to the movement,” Atkins advises.

Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move. You can also take on her new 30 day challenge in our streaming All Out Studio app, check out her Le Sweat workout app, and follow her on Instagram to find out when she’s hosting live workouts from her living room.

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