Some workout plans neglect the muscles of the lower back and pelvis. By incorporating a few key exercises into a well-rounded fitness plan, lower back and pelvic exercises can improve your posture, prevent lower back injuries, and develop strength for everyday activities. Start slowly and carefully, working cautiously to work the back safely without hurting yourself.
Squats and Lunges
When performed correctly, squats and lunges target the lower back and pelvis. If you are new to squats and lunges, a sturdy chair can be an effective tool for form and balance. Hold on to the chair back as you start lunging or place it behind you to set your squat form and depth. As you squat, lean back as if you were going to sit on the chair, tap your hips and stand back up using your pelvis. For intensity, hold weights or increase your range of motion. Begin with 10 to 15 repetitions, adding more as you become stronger.
Lying on your stomach and flying like Superman is a way to isolate the lower back and pelvis and develop strength and flexibility. As you lift and lower in your superman position, focus on lifting with control from the lower back instead of pulling from your neck. For variations, lift just the right arm and left leg followed by the left arm and right leg, or hold the arms and legs up for Pilates Swimming. Begin with 8 to 10 repetitions, increasing as you become stronger.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and together. Lift your hips until your shoulders, hips, and knees all form a straight line for a proper bridge position. As you lower and lift your hips, focus on articulating through the spine and pressing through your hips and pelvis. For an added inner thigh workout, try holding a playground ball between your thighs and, to advance your bridges, try them one leg at a time. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions.
Begin your planks on your forearms, extending your legs straight out behind you. Focus on lengthening your spine and lifting your abdominals to contract the entire core. Hold your plank for 30 seconds to one minute to establish proper form before trying variations. To increase the difficulty for your lower back and pelvis, you can lift and lower your knees to the floor or rotate your hips from side to side. After you have developed strength, try walking up and down from your forearms to your palms eight to 10 times.
Vicki Vara has been a fitness professional for more than 15 years, working in health clubs, studios and schools. She is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutrition consultant and Pilates instructor. Vara holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Delaware.