Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Core Stability or Back Strengthening Exercises

These types of exercises for lower back pain (simple back pain) form the basis of core stability training.The idea behind core stability exercises are that you strengthen the 'core' muscles that add support to your lower back. If you imagine your trunk is a cylinder, supporting your spine.

  • The walls of the cylinder are made up of your trunk muscles,
  • The floor is made up of your pelvic floor muscles
  • The lid is made up of the diaphragm or your breathing muscle.


In order to properly support the back there needs to be enough strength in the abdominal and trunk muscles and the pelvic floor. This creates an 'internal corset'. There is some debate about whether these back strengthening exercises are better than other types of treatment.

Some swear by them and say they are essential, others don't believe they work at all. I sit somewhere in between, I will use them when I feel it is appropriate after I have assessed someone.

Lower abdominal muscles and core stability
Transversus abdominus is one of the key lower abdominal muscles. See its role in core stability here.
pelic neutral core stability exercise
Finding pelvic neutral is a key part of this type of core stability exercise. You are encouraged to find the mid point between fully arched and fully flattened.
core stabilization exercise
Sometimes its too difficult with core stability training to find pelvic neutral in lying, this may be an easier exercise to attempt.
core stability exercises
This is a slightly more difficult lower back exercise – don’t try this one until you have mastered the two earlier exercises.
core stability exercises
This low back exercise for core stabilization challenges the muscles that control rotation. Its harder than it looks!
core stability training
This is even harder, again this core stabilization exercise challenges the muscles that control rotation or twisting movements.

Physiotherapists have embraced the idea that these exercises for lower back pain that strengthen your core muscles are helpful in increasing stability in the lower back and help to ease lower back pain. In truth there is no definitive research evidence that proves this for certain.

The research gives us mixed views, some studies showed promise but some later trials show less positive results. (1,2)

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Any exercise is generally good for simple lower back pain - we are just not sure exactly which type of exercises for lower back pain are the best.The bottom line is that these back strengthening exercises may work for some with non-specific lower back pain but they are not suitable for everyone - get an assessment to find out if they may help you.

I am including a series of back strengthening exercises here to get your core stability abdominal muscles and pelvic floor kicking in a bit more. These are just general exercises though and the best core stability training programme should be tailored to your particular needs and should involve your day to day activities.


More Exercises for lower back pain - more advanced stabilising/strengthening exercises

Lower Back Pain Toolkit Home Page

Please check with your healthcare provider to make sure these exercises for lower back pain are the right ones for you to try.


1. Goldby-Lucy-Jane, Moore-Ann-P, Doust-Jo, Trew-Marion-E.
A randomised controlled trial investigating the efficiency of musculoskeletal physiotherapy on chronic low back disorder.
Spine, 1 May 2006, vol. 31, no. 10, p. 1083-93

2.Ferreira, M.L. et al. Comparison of general exercise, motor control exercise and spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized trial. Pain 131, 31-7(2007).