Focussing on strengthening the gluteal muscles (your bum!) can bring the major benefit of support for your lower back and decreased pain. The gluteus maximum, medius and minimus surround the rear and outside of the hips and stabilise the pelvis and lower back as you move through various activities of daily life. Weakness in the gluteals due to lack of strengthening activity and decreased standing and walking time is often a contributing factor in lower back discomfort. To hone in on this area, try the following three exercises after a warm up.
1. Supine bridge with band resisted hip abduction –
Lie face up on the floor, legs bent, feet resting on the floor, with a loop band around your legs just above the knees. (You can tie a full band, using just a bow, and it should come undone afterwards). Lift your hips off the floor, focussing on using your bum muscles, and push out to the side against the resistance of the band. Lower back down. Aim for 10 – 15 reps 2 – 3 times.
2. Squat with hip extension v band –
Stand with feet hip width apart on a band, and hold ends in your hands. Squat down and on your way up push one leg back from the hip, against the resistance of the band. Aim for 10 – 15 per leg, 2 – 3 times. Gets in there!
3. Clam –
Lying on your side, legs bent, with band loop around legs just above the knees. Rest your head on your arm, or prop up on your elbow. Roughly 90 degrees at the knees, open and close your top knee, against the band, keeping your hips stacked vertically. Aim for 10 – 15 per leg, 2 -3 times. To progress, lift hips into a side bridge and perform the moves from there. Ooh, tricky!