One of the most common reasons behind lower back aches and pains is simply weak glutes. The glutes (butt muscles) are not strong enough, or don’t function properly; and the lower back takes up the strain.
When the glutes are not strong enough, your hips are not stable, and the lower back is put under greater forces than it should be under.
Here we’re going to look at five lower back friendly glute exercises to make sure your butt is strong enough to function properly and protect the lower back:
1. Single leg glute bridge – Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg into the air and push the other foot into the floor. As you push the floor, squeeze your butt and lift your hips into the air until they’re 180 degrees from knee to shoulder. Make sure to keep your hips level throughout.
2. Step ups – Find a box or bench just above knee height and stand to the side of it. Place one foot on top, push down through that heel and stand up onto the box. Keep the other leg in the air, and make sure to not push off the bottom foot too much.
3. Single leg RDL – Using a small dumbbell in each hand, stand on one leg, push the hips backwards and bend the torso forwards towards the ground. Ensure your back stays flat and abs are tight throughout. Squeeze your glutes and push yourself back up to standing posture.
4. Walking lunges – Step forwards with one leg, bending both knees and controlling your back knee down towards the floor. Stop an inch above the floor, then drive off the front foot, striding through with the back leg to become the front foot, and repeat alternating strides.
5. Banded side step walking – Using a resistance band around your knees while you take large sideways steps will engage your glute medius and get the glutes firing. A great exercise to do ahead of your normal lower body workout.