To begin, I have to preface this by saying that not all of the exercises I will be covering may be suitable for everyone. It is always important to remember that proper form is achieved in all exercises.
A lack of flexibility, strength, or proper knowledge on how to perform these exercises may lead to improper form. Performing an exercise with improper form will not be as effective, and in some cases may even lead to injury.
If you are unsure of how to perform these exercises, please consult with a professional healthcare provider to ensure that you remain safe.
Instructions for each exercise:
For each exercise, have a timer ready. Each movement should be performed for 50 seconds to get the most benefit. Rest 30 seconds maximum between each exercise. It’s going to be tough, especially when starting out. You’ll feel the burn, and it’s going to hurt so good.
If you aren’t able to perform an exercise for 50 seconds, don’t worry about it. Just try to do the best you can and remember this: everyone has to start somewhere. Eventually you’ll get better, and you’ll maybe even want to do more difficult routines.
But for now, let’s stick with this one. Without any further ado, below are five great exercises for women to tone up the lower back muscles:
Exercise 1: Pilates Breaststroke
How to perform:
- Start by lying face down with arms to your sides.
- Lift your head and feet off the floor and hold this position. Do this by contracting your upper and lower back as well as your glutes (the butt muscles!) and keeping constant tension.
- With your arms, perform a breaststroke motion by reaching your hands out over your head, making a sweeping motion and bringing the arms back to tap your thighs.
- Remember to keep your head and feet lifted up the entire time and try to not let them drop to the floor.
Exercise 2: Swimmers
How to perform:
- Again, start by lying face down. Straighten out your arms in front of you, and your legs behind you.
- Lift your head up and keep it there. Simultaneously lift one arm and one leg on opposite sides of each other (e.g. left arm, right leg or right arm, left leg).
- Alternate between which sides are being raised – as arm and leg is being lowered, the other should be raised up.
- Try to keep your hands and feet off the floor the entire time, lowering them only so that they are about an inch above the floor but not actually touching. This makes the exercise harder but much more effective.
Exercise 3: Windmill Toe Touches
How to perform:
- Keeping your legs and lower back straight, feet shoulder width apart, bend your torso forward until you are parallel to the floor.
- With arms outstretched to your sides, begin rotating your torso and reaching the floor with your arm. Keeping your core muscles tight as you do this.
- Alternate rotating your left and right sides, touching the floor with your arm each time.
- Try your best to keep your lower back straight and flexed this entire time. Don’t have a big arch like the Hunchback of Notre Dame!
Exercise 4: Straight Leg Deadlifts
- Once again keeping your legs relatively straight (knees can be slightly bent) with feet shoulder width apart, reach down with your arms and try to touch your toes.
- The motion of your body should be coming from the hip joint – think of your legs and upper body as made of concrete, with the only flexible part of your body being your hips.
- Once you touch your toes, slowly raise your torso back to its starting position.
- Remember to keep your back straight – if your flexibility doesn’t allow for this to happen, just try to go as low as you can until your back starts to round, then go back up.
Exercise 5: Bird Dogs
- Being in a kneeling position with torso parallel to floor, hands touching the floor directly underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips.
- Extend one arm and the leg diagonally across from it so that they too are parallel with the floor. If you can, raise them higher for an added challenge.
- Go back to the starting position and do the other side. Alternate between these two sides.
- Remember you want to tone your lower back, so make sure you are squeezing your lower back and keeping tension on it the entire time.
And that’s it! Do these exercises for 50 seconds each, with a 30 second rest between each exercise. If this becomes too easy for you, once you’re finished with all 5 exercises rest for two minutes before repeating them all over again.
If you follow these 5 great exercises every day, you’ll have that elusive toned lower back in no time.