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Lower Back Pain? 16 Exercises to Help

I’ve noticed over the years, young adults, office/home workers have been expressing lower back, hip & shoulder pain. On this post I’d like to address the hip pain and exercises I think will help — especially the hip flexors. I’ve written a post about hip pain and it seems to be resonating well with people — let’s continue on this path. I’d like to share more hip flexor related exercises with inexpensive equipment. But first, I’d like to give a quick overview on the hip flexor.

Hip Flexor — what’s that?

The Hip Flexor consists of 5 major muscles: iliacus, psoas, pectineus, rectus femoris, and sartorius. It’s responsible to move your legs and knee up towards your body (flexion in the hip). These muscles surround and attach to your pelvis and leg.

Ok, how does it relate?

If these muscles are tight/weak, the other surrounding pelvis muscles may have to over compensate. This can result in:

  • Pain when walking
  • Pain when climbing stairs
  • Pain in the lower back when sitting down.

Just to name a few… but the good news is we can target & strengthen this area.

I’d like to point out: the hip flexors and hip extensors work in union together. Both need to be worked on or else you could have a muscular imbalance. 

This post specifically targets the flexors but I advise to take a look at my original Hip Pain Muscular Imbalance Blog [x]. It’s linked in the resources. Now, moving on… 

Floor exercises:

1 Deadbug

I love this move because it not only strengthens the core, but the hip flexors. You’re also improving your coordination — here’s the pattern: Right arm up/left leg up, left arm up/right leg up.

Tip: Fully extend both arm & leg out. Keep the bent knee at a 90 degree angle.

2 Lying Toe Tap

The core engagement comes with slowly raising the leg only an inch or 2 of the floor. It’s easy to underestimate this exercise at first. But give it a try and it will catch up on you.

3 Lower Back Rotational Stretch

Although this is primarily a lower back stretch, its achieved by hip flexion and trunk rotation.

4  Leg Raise (One Leg)

This is an alternative to the double leg raise to focus on one side at a time. I like this because it transitions well with the exercise below.

5  Lying Leg Circle

We add an element of rotation here — which works the hip flexors in a different way. The trick is small rotations clockwise & anticlockwise. 

Seated/Chair Exercises:

6 Seated Leg Raise

The extension of you leg makes the hip flexor/core work hard. If you’re reading this on a chair, try it now. Keep the toe pointing upwards & hold for as long as possible.

7  Sit to Stand

We use this key movement practically everyday. Next time you get up from your chair, I challenge you to get up slowly and don’t use your arms. Then sit back down slow and controlled with no arm involvement. 

Standing/Wall Exercises:

8 Knee Raise to Hand

Make targets with your hands and bring knees to hand. Again, slowly is the key and stand upright. 

9 Marching Wall Sit

You may be familiar with a wall sit but let’s take it a step further. You’r hips and legs are already engaged… now lift one foot of the floor slowly. 

10 Wall Squat (One Leg)

Now to finish this segment off, let’s look at another variation of the wall squat. This is the harder version with extra engagement of the core and hips. Now hold that in place. 

Mixing up your training

Have you ever noticed when you start exercising for the first time you get results almost immediately? Either you feel sore (delayed onset muscle soreness — DOMS) or/and you physically see results. Then you keep doing the same thing expecting the same results but it doesn’t happen. This is known as a plateau. Your body is an amazing machine which adapts quickly. To keep moving forward, it has to be constantly challenged. With that in mind, here’s 3 reasons why I want you to try these after you’re familiar with the above.

  • Keep the body guessing — It has to adapt.
  • Keep you engaged — The more variety, the less likely you’ll get bored. Plus I want you out your comfort zone.
  • Inexpensive Equipment — These are cheap to buy online & can be found in many commercial premises.

Now, let’s mix it up people!

Stability Ball Exercises

I love this equipment because of its versatility. 

11  Stability Ball Dead Bug

Here’s an example of making the regular DeadBug more engaging. Some say it makes it harder, I’d personally say it brings more awareness for core/hip flexor engagement. Just think to keep the ball in place.

Note: If that arm or hip drops, that ball will hit and run (hit you first then roll away)

12 Stability Ball Knee Tuck

A bit of an advanced move here. When the ball is rolled towards you, it causes the hip flexors and core to engage. It’s important to not let the hips drop.

13 Stability Ball Lying Reverse Crunch

This reverse crunch challenges the core and hip flexors at the same time. The trick is, there should be a gap between the lower back and the floor at the endpoint. That’s when you’ll feel the crunch.

Tip: On each ‘crunch’ I breathe out.

Note: Make sure the ball isn’t too large for your legs and keep it in place by hooking your heels.

Mini Band

Another inexpensive item which has gained a lot of popularity recently. Not to mention its easy to progress exercises you might be familiar with.

14 Mini Band Standing Knee to Elbow

A way to progress the standing crunch is to add a mini band. It’s easy to just swing your hips and use that momentum without the band. You can’t do that with this. Slow & controlled is the key and keep the chest up. Also control it on the way down.

15  Mini Band Scissor Kick

The trick with this one is to keep the lower leg about a foot from the ground. The work comes from raising the other leg upwards. Also, keep the leg straight. 

16  Mini Band Sit to Stand (One Leg)

Now earlier I challenged you to get up from your chair with no arm assistance — now try it with one leg. The band makes you aware of what the legs are doing. For example they might cave inwards which could possibly be tight hip adductors (muscles which bring the legs together). Keep the band in place and you’ll see very quickly which muscles need work. 

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reaching the end! Hopefully you’ve gained some more tools to add to your toolkit. As always with my posts, I’d like to share a free hip workout with you - inspired by the exercises above:

I’ve added the appropriate reps/sets etc… You’ll be able to log & track once you’ve saved it to your area. 

Creating these posts and doing the research takes time. If this helped you, a share goes a long way — I really appreciate it. To better health — Leon W.

by Leon Ward
Product Director and Cofounder

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