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Exercise to Strengthen my lower back

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I am one of the women in the world that I carry a lot of my weight just like a man in my belly. I also carry is in thighs and hips. Being that my belly looks like I have been pregnant for the last 15 years. I really don't have access to a gym but I do have a treadmill and a home gym (looks like this ) &target=products/fitness/weight_training/ home_gyms&start=0&selectedSKU=0416-01 292-0980


What can I do to make it stronger. I can hardly stand and wash dishes at the sink without have major pain and have to sit on a stool.

Thanks in advance for advice

19 Replies (last)

If at all possible, get a physical therapist to assess your strengths, weaknesses and posture. Then he/she would give you exercises (likely using one of those inflatable fit balls) that are tailored to your situation. Make sure that they give you strengthening exercises to do, not just work on you to alleviate some mild pain that you happen to have at the time.  You might only have to see them one time. I went for three sessions and it was well worth it. Two years later I am still doing the exercises and am still improving.


Right now that just is not a possibility due to the fact that hubby work is not giving him any at the moment.  And we do not have health ins. I will look around for something simple online I guess to help me. Thanks for the info though.

This exercise is pretty safe for anybody, and doesn't require hands on instruction:

Good luck.

I have the same problem. 

If you have access to a full length mirror, check your posture.  I found that I arched my back to compensate for the belly, just like a pregnant woman does.Due to the weight, the muscles in the lower back get inflamed and painful.   I would take some ibuprofen to help with the inflammation.  I was only able to walk for 5 minutes at a time due to the discomfort.  Sometimes the last minutes was spent practically in tears willing myself to finish.  I made myself walk the 5 minutes everyday.  Then the next week I would add more time.  Personally, I added 3 minutes a week.  I am now up to 20 minutes.  The back pain is gone now, unless I am on my feet a lot. 

Hi desi36

I had a similar problem, what help me was yoga.  Look up basic yoga for beginners and find the ones that will help you.  Good luck.

My back problems weren't related to weight (they started when I was 9), but the best thing I've done was start lifting heavy weights. I tried the exercises that physical therapists would give me, but I never made any progress (perhaps, as OGR said, they were just meant to alleviate current pain, instead of actually getting me stronger).

Best decision I ever made was when I started picking heavy stuff (albeit, being careful with form to the point of paranoia).

I agree with amethystgirl.  Whenever I lift anything, I can feel my abs working, and I'm not stiff in my back at all anymore.  What about that cobra thing, where you lay on the floor and hold your head and shoulders up.  I always feel like I've had a massage after that one.

The issue is likely not your lower back but your abs and other core muscles. You need to work on strengthening those to balance off your stronger lower back muscles and also losing the stomach. To understand what I am talking about look at a tree that has been hit by lightening: it leans towards the undamaged side because it is structurally stronger. The imbalance is the same with the human body. If you work your lower back you will just exacerbate the imbalance and make it worse.

I would work with weights to improve your posture, which means mostly: abs, chest, upper back, and traps. This will help your body to bear your weight more evenly -- try straightening your back and pulling back your shoulders rather than bending back to see the difference that good posture makes. Supliment this with a healthy diet to lose weight and you should see results in a short time.

Good luck to you.

I agree partly with dabrock, but would just air some caution in that most people don't actually know how to train their abdominals correctly and do nothing other than a load of hip flexor exercises.  (re: lower ab myths)

Pilates has helped me enormously.  I know Amethystgirl felt she didn't benefit from it but I guess you won't know til you try.

I certainly can't argue with that fact, Nines. I found doing kettelbells and Olympic lifting to be better core exercises than the crunches any day.

I LOVE kettlebells!!!!!!!!  And oh my word did they cane my hamstrings at the beginning far far more than any steady romanian deadlift.  Laughing

To the OP:  another good link on muscular weaknesses and corrective exercises: ml

I have to agree that lifting heavy weights is the best to improve core strength.  I'd also agree with dabrock that an overall lack of core strength might be your problem, not just a lack of strength in the lower back.  Your core muscles hold you upright.  As I continue to strengthen mine, even walking has gotten easier because they are holding my torso upright and I am not slumping down.  I used to also have pain just standing for prolonged periods but now I can stand for hours without back pain.

Since it doesn't seem like you have access to heavy weighs, the youtube link that oldguysrule posted of the "supermans" would be a great start.  You could also work on a plank: .  If the floor version is too difficult, try it with your elbows on a bench and your toes on the floor.  Don't worry about how long you can hold it, even if it's for 10 seconds.  Try to increase it each day you do them.  Once you can do 60 seconds, try them on the floor.

Another good one, that rosie mentioned, is the prone cobra.  Here is a link: .  Try to work up your time you can hold it for.

Good article, except for the don't squat below 90% myth. It's not true or every Olympic lifter on the planet would have blown their knees out. It comes from the results of one poorly conducted experiment in the 50's where the author just arbitrarily said 90% was optimal without actually bothering to test that claim. Later studies have shown no correlation to depth of squats and knee instability. In fact, it's often the opposite.

(Google "don't squat below parallel myth" for more information -- my browser isn't allowing me to paste the link in or I would do it)

I agree with below parallel squats!!  I can squat a decent weight for a girl and then we did deep squats in the kettlebell bootcamp and oh boy!  Obviously the kb is a fraction of my bb squat weight but the depth of squat makes a huge difference.  I wanted to come down my stairs backwards the next day.

Original Post by amethystgirl:

My back problems weren't related to weight (they started when I was 9), but the best thing I've done was start lifting heavy weights.

Best decision I ever made was when I started picking heavy stuff (albeit, being careful with form to the point of paranoia).

I also have a bad back and have found that weight training and daily stretching helps immensely. Core Stregnth exercises like crunches also help a lot. It is very, very important to work up the load slowly and cautiously just as AG writes. Always increase the load slowly and gradually. Never get ambitious in adding weights or reps.

Dear Desi36,

I have the same problem with my lower back, after x-rays and MRI, my Dr. told me that my back is ok, what I need to do is the 7 lower back exercises, been doing that for a month or so and I can tell you what a different not more pills for my back I feel much better, I do these 7 lower back exercise every day for 30 min. and work wonders for me you should try it. one more thing is 3 different postures when you sleep that help your lower back.

just Google lower back exercise and you will find lot of website with information.

Is a lot of web side that show you the 7 lower back exercise but this is one: l#backstretchingexercises


desi: if you go through the link posted by tito, pay careful attention to the description of "activating your abs," and the exercises listed below that (which all require "activating your abs") 

After reading the other peoples posts, I agree that it is likely that you have too much curve in your lower back and need to strengthen the front of your body more than your back. Planks are great!! Look at several (youtube) videos though to make sure you have the form right. Activate abs and glutes (they pull your back flatter) and don't sag between your shoulders.

PT's often have you stand with your back against the wall (heels a little bit out from the wall) and see how much of a hand fits between your lumbar region and the wall. If your back is flat, they focus on back muscles, if you can fit a whole hand in there, they work on the front core muscles, planks etc.

I agree with stephaniebriggs that a good place to start is with walking.  Strengthening your core can come after you get a little more fit, and have a little bit less pain.

Start by using a mirror and checking out your posture.  Also good to stand against a wall, keep your shoulders relaxed and neutral, and gradually straighten out your back.  Keep your hips, shoulders and back muscles relaxed, and suck in your belly.  This is how you should be standing, and this is the posture you should try to keep when you are walking.

Start by walking only as long/far as you can maintain good posture.  I prefer walking outside rather than on a treadmill (I think it can be hard to maintain good posture on a machine, but that just may be me).  Gradually build up.  Once you can walk easily with good posture for at least 30 minutes, then you can start with some core exercise strength exercises.  Good luck!

Thanks everyone for the info. I think I am gonna try some planks to see if that helps some. I have been getting a  back cramp on my right side sometimes since I have try to pick up my walking a bit more when I pull my arm back to scratch my lower back. So I am guessing a lot of it has to do with me being majorly out of shape. Just trying to figure out the best way to build my strength up without hurting myself in the process.


Although I do realize getting into shape is gonna hurt LOL I just dont want to do something major to set myself back.

19 Replies