Whether your goal is to deadlift 450lbs, lift your grandchild off the floor, or just relieve chronic low back pain strengthening correctly is key. Often when people think about strengthening their lower back, they think of purely strengthening their core or abdominal muscles. Although strengthening the core is a crucial part of stabilizing the pelvis, there are muscles that attach to the spine that need attention as well.
Our bodies work the best when our muscles fire or activate in sync with each other. This means getting our low back to talk to our core when we lift something heavy off the floor. Often times our backs getting achy when we lift because we are unable to keep from the small of the back arching when we lift, pull, or push. This can lead to straining in the muscles around the spine. The erector spinae are muscles that run along the sides of the spine and allow us to stand straight up from a bent over position. These muscles stabilize the spine and keep the vertebrae from undo stress, shear, or slipping when we preform everyday tasks that involve bending or lifting.
You have probably heard or performed exercises such as bird dog, superman, planks, or hip extension kicks in the past. These are great exercises for back strengthening and are a good place to safely start. Below I show you some different strength variations, level of difficulty, and functional exercises that will prepare you for increased loading when lifting or bending. In my opinion the deadlift lift is one of the most important exercises that mimics a movement that is repeated throughout your day. When performing it correctly it can help strengthen your low back and prepare your lumbar spine for lifting. However, to safely perform this lift you must know and understand how to isolate muscles that help you perform a lift from the bent over position. See my favorite low back strengthening exercises below to prepare you for safely performing a deadlift or functional lift from the floor.