Unlike dynamic exercises, isometric exercises are performed without any range of motion. Simply put, you hold a contraction for a series of seconds with no lengthening or shortening of the muscle. You can work every muscle group with isometric exercises, including the lower back. Furthermore, you can use these exercises to treat and prevent lower back pain. Hold each position for a minimum of 5 seconds when first starting out and work your way up to hold times of 45 to 60 seconds.
The locust pose is a yoga exercise that is performed from a face-down position on the floor. With your arms at your sides with your palms facing up, lift your torso and legs simultaneously. Tighten your abs and glutes as you balance on your pelvis and lower ribs. Stop where you feel your lower back engage. Be sure to keep your neck in line with your spine and resist the temptation to look forward and up as this can cause potential neck and shoulder injury.
Bird dogs are performed from a position on your hands and knees. Line your hands up directly under your shoulders and place your knees directly under your hips. In a controlled movement, extend your right arm in front of you and your left leg behind you. Once your arm and leg are parallel to the floor, hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Keep your hips and shoulders parallel with the floor and avoid leaning or tilting to one side. Slowly lower your arm and leg and repeat with your opposite arm and leg.
Forearm Plank with Leg Raises
Plank holds are ab exercises that can place more emphasis on your lower back by doing a variation. Lie face-down on the floor with your toes hip-width apart and your forearms parallel to your body. In a steady motion, lift your hips off the floor and tighten your abs to form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Slowly lift your right leg to level it with the floor and hold for 10 to 20 seconds, keeping the hips high and making sure the lower back doesn't sag towards the floor. Lower the leg and repeat with your left leg.
Alternating supermans are exercises performed from a face-down position on the floor. With your legs straight and arms extended in front of your body, raise your right arm and left leg off the floor. Only go as far as comfortable and hold for 5 to 10 seconds, keeping your neck in line with the spine. Lower your arm and leg and repeat with your opposite side.
Bridges are exercises that can be done with an exercise ball. Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor and your arms crossed over your chest. In a steady motion, walk your feet forward and slowly roll down the ball until your shoulders and head are resting comfortably on top. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your hips up by engaging your lower back muscles. Once your back is straight and your knees are bent 90 degrees, hold for 10 to 20 seconds.