Glute Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Anyone who has ever suffered from lower back pain knows that it is no joke. Sometimes the pain is dull, achy and mainly in the low back region. Other times the pain can be more severe, almost like a stabbing feeling in the low back that extends down the back of the thighs. Whether the pain is moderate or more severe, having lower back issues is extremely uncomforting.
While it might seem counter-intuitive, your lower back pain can be caused by surrounding soft tissue problems in the hip and backside area. Today, more than ever people are less active and are sitting longer. Because of this, their gluteus muscles are used less and become weakened. Weak, inactive or tight glutes can cause instability in the lower spine, as well as imbalances in the hips and pelvis.
The good news? There’s some simple glute exercises for lower back pain you can perform that will help to strengthen the glutes and alleviate lower back pain! That’s right, adding a few glute exercises into your workout regimen can help with any lower back pain you may be experiencing.
First up is the glute bridge! The ideal exercise to tone the backside and help strengthen the glutes for lower back pain.
To do this exercise you will need to start on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground about hip distance apart. Once in a comfortable position, lift the hips up until your back is completely off of the ground. Your shoulder blades should stay on the ground or mat and remain relaxed. Lower the hips back down until the glutes touch the ground and then use the glutes to lift back up. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
It’s important to make sure this exercise is performed slow and controlled to activate the right muscles. If you feel a separate muscle group activating (such as tops of thighs) you will need to make adjustments to the way you are doing the glute bridge. You may need to perform the exercise more slowly to get the full activation and feel the burn!
Dumbbell or Bar Squats
One exercise you’ve probably heard a million times is a squat. So, would we really be giving glute exercises a fair shake if we didn’t include squats? Performing dumbbell or bar squats are a sure way to help strengthen glutes for lower back pain.
To do this exercise you can either use dumbbells or a bar. If you choose to use dumbbells, rest one on each shoulder and position the feet about hips distance apart. Your heels should remain planted firmly into the ground, the core should be tight, shoulders back and chest up.
Once you have proper form, you can begin bending the knees. The goal is to squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, but this should not come at the detriment of good form. Once you have gone as deeply as possible into the squat, press into the heels to straighten back into a standing position. It’s important to keep your spine in a neutral position. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Try not to round your back when going down or coming up from a squat because this can further back pain. Aim to keep the knees aligned and from going past the tips of your toes — good form is key! One last tip, try not to look down. Always look straight ahead and try to pick one focal point throughout the entirety of your squat workout.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
Not as common as the squat but just as effective, is the single leg romanian deadlift. The single leg deadlift is another great exercise to help strengthen glutes for lower back pain. If you’ve ever performed a deadlift, then know this isn’t too much different. There is more focus on the singular glute muscles and a bit of balance challenge – but who doesn’t love those?
To perform a single leg romanian deadlift, start in standing position with the feet hips distance apart and slight bend in the knees. Lift one leg up, move the foot behind you and begin to slowly lean forward. Start to hinge further forward (while keeping your back straight) and lift the leg behind you to help maintain balance. Once you’ve reached a comfortable position, start to lower back down to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times then switch sides.
Bend at the hips, not the spine. As with all exercises, proper form is essential so make sure your form is 100% before trying to take the exercise to the next level. To increase the intensity of a single leg romanian deadlift, you can use dumbbells or kettlebells.
Stability Ball Hip Thrust
Prepare for strong glutes and thighs after adding stability ball hip thrusts into your workout regimen. This exercise will tone the muscles all while helping get rid of lower back pain. Talk about a win/win scenario.
To start you’ll need an exercise ball. Slowly walk your feet out, lay with your back on the stability ball and have the hips slightly lowered. Begin to thrust the hips up in a smooth motion and then lower back down. To really fire up the glutes, hold the hips up for a few seconds before lowering. Repeat this exercise 12-15 times.
To add more resistance use a dumbbell, kettlebell or resistance band. Make sure each movement is meaningful, don’t just go through the motions!
Single Leg Glute Bridge
If you’re a big fan of the glute bridge – like myself – then the single leg glute bridge is a must. Of course it’s a perfect way to tone the rear, but it’s also an effective exercise that strengthens the glutes for lower back pain.
Like the glute bridge, you’ll start flat on your back with feet hips distance apart. The only difference is that you’ll lift one leg straight up before lifting the hips into the air. Aim to lift the hips until your knee, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Be sure to squeeze your glutes once you reach the top and keep the core engaged the entire time. Then slowly lower back down to the floor or mat. Repeat 10 to 12 times then switch sides.
Keep the glute and core activated throughout this entire workout. You can always add a resistance band, kettlebell or dumbbell to make the exercise more challenging.
Lying Clam Shells
Who doesn’t love an effective exercise that can be performed lying down? While that’s definitely a plus, don’t let lying clam shells fool you. This exercise is known to fire up the gluteus medius and burns so good!
To start, lie on your side with the legs and hips stacked, and knees bent around a 45 degree angle. Rest your head on the bottom arm and use the other one to keep yourself steady. Keep the feet planted and touching, and begin raising the upper knee as high as you can without altering the hips or pelvis. Pause at the top then lower the leg back down. Complete 15-20 reps and then switch sides.
Keep the abs engaged by pulling the “belly button into the spine.” This will also help keep the spine and pelvis stable. Add a resistance band above the knees for more resistance.
Side Lying Hip Abduction
Another killer glute exercise that can be performed from the comfort of your own living room floor! This another workout that targets the gluteus medius and will definitely strengthen the glutes for lower back pain.
Start by lying on your side. You can rest your head on your bottom hand and use the top hand for stability. The top leg should be extended straight and slightly behind the bottom leg. Lift the leg and hold it for 3 to 5 seconds and then lower back down. Repeat 10 to 12 times then switch sides.
You can add ankle weights to increase the difficulty of this exercise.
Bird Dog Exercise
If you’re searching for an exercise that not only strengthens the glutes, but also incorporates the abdominals and back muscles, the bird dog is it. Not to mention it also helps improve stability and flexibility!
To do this exercise you’ll need to kneel with the knees hip distance apart and hands planted firmly on the ground or mat. Once you’re in a comfortable, stable position, begin extending one arm straight out in front of you and the opposite leg behind you. Make sure to keep the hips square to the ground and the back straight. Hold for a few seconds then return back to the starting position. Complete as many reps on each side as you desire.
Be sure to keep the core engaged throughout this entire exercise. It’s important that you form one line from your hand that is lifted to the foot that is lifted. The back should not sag at any point, so if this starts to happen lower the leg until your back is flat.
You’re probably wondering how this exercise got it’s name. What you imagine when you think of a dog and a fire hydrant is almost precisely how this glute exercise is performed!
To start, get down on all fours with the hands placed firmly under the shoulders and knees under the hips, also known as tabletop position. Begin to lift one knee away from the body at a 45-degree angle. Be sure to keep the knee at 90 degrees and then lower back to starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.
Add a resistance band above the knees to increase the intensity of this workout. Remember: keep the core engaged and imagine pulling your belly button into your spine!
Like fire hydrants, donkey kicks are another great exercise to strengthen glutes for lower back pain. Plus, they are another glute workout that can be done easily from home!
To start, get down on all fours with the hands placed firmly under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Lift one leg up behind you while keeping the knee bent and foot flexed. Raise the leg until it is in line with your body and the foot is facing the ceiling. Slowly lower back down, keeping the core and glutes engaged. Repeat 12 times and then switch sides.
Add a resistance band above the knees to increase the intensity of this workout.
Lower back pain is no fun! While it seems counter-intuitive, often lower back pain can be caused by inactive or weak gluteus muscles. The good news is there’s some simple glute exercises for lower back pain. Above, we cover 10 fail-proof glute exercises for lower back pain you can perform that will help to strengthen those glutes and alleviate your lower back pain! Start off easy and don’t over do it. Do these glute exercises for lower back pain a few times a week and you will be feeling better before you know it!