“What are the best exercises to strengthen the lower back, to help ease and prevent low back pain?”

Physiotherapist, Tom Anthoney shares a few favourites.

Physiotherapists are experts in prescribing exercises for people in pain, and also to prevent pain.

We love it when clients ask us for exercises to assist their lower back pain(LBP).

Stretching helps, but when we add specific strengthening exercises, that takes it to a new level!

First Some Research

A study in 1995 showed that when people undertook daily stretching exercises for 6 weeks, 21% had a reduction in their LBP. Not bad.

Another group who performed specific, Physio pre-scribed strengthening exercises as well as the stretching for 6 weeks had 70% less LBP.

That’s amazing right?

The results of this study were shared later that year on “Today / Tonight” (or was it called ‘A Current Affair’ back then?).

It sparked massive interest and led to the “core stability” revolution with Physio balls and planking exercises going nuts all around Australia.

People were trained to “suck in their abs” whenever they moved and it all went a bit too far. People practicing “Core Stability” lost the ability to move naturally and in some cases that made their LBP worse!

So what are the best exercises?

The best exercises target a range of muscles (not just the core) and allow safe, comfortable movement-without straining or holding the breath.

So lets try 3 exercises ;  For the Transverse (Deep) Abdominals, the Gluteals and the Lumbar Muscles themselves

1. The Transversus Abdominus (TAs) works, to support the back and works closely with the Pelvic Floor Muscles

You can work this muscle, by slowly drawing your “belly button in towards your spine”

Lifting the pelvic floor ( wee muscles) before you draw the belly in helps focus the contraction to the low, deep fibres

Draw in about 30% of max and hold for 20-30 seconds.

  -See the video below for a demonstration-


2.  Gluteals  Theres lots of ways to work the “Glutes”,  Like the simple exercise on the video above

Heres another example to get you started

    The Bridge, 

Bridging is best done with both feet flat on the floor, and hands down by your side.

Squueze the buttocks to lift your lower back from the floor, and hold yourself  up for 10 seconds, lowering yourself down slowly again.

This can be repeated until you feel tired, say 5-10 reps

***NB If this is painful anywhere >> STOP, and seek Professional advice with your local Physiotherapist**

3. The Lumbar Extensors

This group of muscles literally holds you up when you bend over to put on your socks or reach forward into a low drawer.

Yet they are often overlooked in “core stability” programs.. Here is an exercise that targets the “extensors”

                              The Superman

This version of “superman” is more difficult than it looks.

You have to balance on one hand and the opposite knee.- without twisting or falling over

In the 1st picture-you can see we extend the left leg level with the body and raise the opposite ( right) arm

Hold this position for 5 seconds, repeat 3-5 times on each “diagonal”

NB theres lots that can go wrong with this one, so if unsure, ask your Physio ( Tom , Alexander or Stephan)  about  how to do it properly


Book in today by calling 85564416

Or book yourself in online

Physio for McLaren Vale, Aldinga , Willunga, Mt Compass and surround

Disclaimer : These exercise suggestions can never replace a consultation with a qualified Health Practitioner

If you are in pain, we suggest you seek Professional advice first, before attempting any exercises

       And remember if any exercise causes you pain  >>  STOP