Most exercises that are performed while lying on your stomach are considered core exercises. This means that, although they will isolate the muscles of the lower back, they will also strengthen the opposing muscles -- the abdominals. You will likely only feel these exercises in the lower back area as you do them, but don't be fooled. Over time, you'll see and feel a difference in ab strength.
Lie face down on the floor with your legs extended and arms extended overhead, palms down. Keep your face down to prevent any strain in your neck.
Inhale as you simultaneously lift your arms and legs off the floor. Pause briefly once you feel tension in your lower back.
Exhale as you slower return your legs and arms back to the floor. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Stability Ball Reverse Extensions
Position yourself face down over a stability ball with your hands on the floor and spaced shoulder-width apart.
Pull your body over the ball by walking your hands away from you until your toes barely touch the floor with a full extension of your legs.
Engage your abdominals and slightly bend your arms. Keep your toes facing the floor and your legs straight as you lift your legs toward the ceiling. Pause once you feel tension in your lower back.
Lower your legs back to the starting position but without touching the floor. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Items you will need
- Stability ball
- If you suffer from severe back pain, avoid this exercises and start with basic, supine abdominal exercises that force you to keep your spine in a neutral position and glued to the floor.
- American Council on Exercise: Stability Ball Reverse Extensions
- “Stronger Abs and Back”; Dean & Greg Brittenham; 1997
- “Human Anatomy & Physiology”; Marieb and Hoehn; 2007
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images