Top 4 Back Exercises To Protect Your Lower Back

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Take a look at our guide on how to workout your back for less discomfort and strength!

How often have you seen people performing improper form on back exercises and putting their lower back at certain risk? Well, one of the easiest body parts to injure is the lower back, or lumbar area. In this article, we will outline the steps you can take to strengthen your lower back with proper form and avoid injury. 

In a study from 2020, 93 patients were studied from the ages of 16-26, ‘all of whom partook in weightlifting’. 43 of them had pain in the back area. With ‘pain radiating to the left side was found in 31 patients (33%), while pain radiating to the right was found in 19 patients (21%). 

All the participants (100%) reported their pain to be initiated during or after weightlifting maneuvers. The table below provides more details.

Sex Pain Characteristics  Surgery  Lumbar Level
Male Female Localized Left Right Yes No L3-L4 L4-L5 L5-S1
87 6 43 31 19 23 70 6 44 43

Table credit below *


The importance of protecting your lower back:

In fact ‘out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, Lower Back Pain (LBP), ranked highest in terms of disability, and sixth in terms of overall burden Prevalence and burden increased with age’

Back pain is also one of the leading reasons as to why people miss work, as a ‘sample stud(y) included 220 persons between the ages of 16-65, who had either acutely declared themselves unable to work because of low back pain (acute patients, n = 50) or who had been ill because of low back pain for one month (subacute patients, n = 50) or for three months (chronic patients, n = 70).’ The remaining 50 patients included had not been absent for work.

The figures here equate to one half of all working Americans. 

And lower back pain does not discriminate, as  the mayo clinic ‘estimated that 15% to 20% of adults have back pain during a single year and 50% to 80% experience at least one episode of back pain during a lifetime.’

So what is the solution?

Working out with correct form will always be crucial and also building up strength in the lower back area will also be beneficial.

However if you have never exercised your lower back you’ll want to go in with caution. Start off lifting with a light weight, maybe even the bar just so that you can get a feel on how the exercise feels on your lower back.

What exercises should I do?

To significantly lower your chances of back injury and gain strength in your lower back, consider incorporating these isolation exercises into your lower back workout.

Deficit Deadlift

1. Deficit Deadlift

How To Do It:

  1. Start by standing on a platform, 1-5 inches in height
  2. Make sure that your feet are hip width apart.
  3. Bend at the hip to grip the bar at shoulder width, allowing your shoulder blades to protract.
  4. Lower your hips and bend knees until your shins contact the bar.
  5. Look forward, keep chest up and back arched, and begin driving through the heels to move the weight upward.
  6. After the bar passes the knees, aggressively pull it back, bringing your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forward into the bar.
  7. Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor.
  8. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Good Mornings

2. Good Mornings

How To Do It:

  1. Set up a bar (with sufficient weight) on a rack that best matches your height.
  2. Step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders (slightly below the neck) across it.
  3. Hold on to the bar using both arms at each side and lift it off the rack by first pushing with your legs and at the same time straightening your torso.
  4. Step away from the rack and position your legs using a medium, shoulder-width stance.
  5. Keep your head up at all times and maintain a straight back.
  6. Lower your torso forward by bending at the hips until it is parallel with the floor.
  7. Elevate torso back to starting position.
  8. Perform 4 sets of 15-20 reps


3. Hyperextensions

How to Do it:

  1. Lie face down on a hyperextension bench.
  2. Ensure your upper thighs lie flat across the wide pad, leaving enough room for you to bend at the waist.
  3. With your body straight, cross your arms in front of you (or place behind your head).
  4. Then start to bend forward slowly at the waist as far as you can while keeping your back flat.
  5. Without rounding your back, keep moving forward until you feel a nice stretch on the hamstrings and you can no longer keep going without a rounding of the back.
  6. Slowly raise your torso back to the initial position without arching your back.
  7. Perform 4 sets of 15-20 reps


4. Supermans

How To Do It:

  1. Lie on your stomach with the arms extended in front of you, and with the feet straight
  2. Lift your hands and feet off the ground at the same time by about 6 inches, so it looks like you are mimicking superman as he is flying (hence the name), at this point you will feel an contraction in your lower back area
  3. Hold this position for a few seconds
  4. Then return to the starting position 
  5. Perform 4 sets of 10 reps

So there you have it, use this guide to keep your back nice and protected while building strength.

So until next time, keep pumping!

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Mehmet Edip
Mehmet Edip is a fitness writer, actor, and model who has worked in the industry for over 8 years. He focuses on achieving his physique through an all natural plant-based diet and shares his insight via his workout & nutrition guides.