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Easy Exercises for a Slim Lower Back

by
author image Martin Booe
Martin Booe writes about health, wellness and the blues. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Bon Appetit. He lives in Los Angeles.
Easy Exercises for a Slim Lower Back
Getting rid of back fat means burning calories with cardio. Photo Credit shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

There's more to having a slim lower back than vanity. If your lower back is chubby, chances are you're pudgy around the middle too. And that's bad for your health. If fat tends to gather around your waist rather than your hips, you're at risk for type 2 diabetes. What's more, the risk increases significantly for women with waists larger than 35 inches or men with waists greater than 40. So when you're putting yourself through the paces in pursuit of that slim waist and lower back, reinforce your effort by remembering that your overall health will improve along with your looks.

Read More: Exercises to Get Rid of a Spare Tire

Burn Calories with Cardio

If you've got a flab problem at your lower back, by all means exercise. But keep in mind that the only way to get rid of fat is to burn calories. For every pound of fat you want to lose, you'll have to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. While it is rather difficult to do this with exercise alone, putting in 45 minutes to an hour on the treadmill, running stairs or group aerobic activities will definitely boost your efforts.

Also consider trying High Intensity Interval Training, which has been shown to burn more calories, increase metabolism and EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption) and accelerate the fat burning process. HIIT means short bursts of intense activity followed by proportionately longer intervals of recovery time, during which you shift down to a slower pace or just rest.

A Word About Spot Reduction

"Spot reduction" is that thing where you target the part of your body you want to whip into shape and then go for it without bothering about the rest of your sorry carcass. Well, if that sounds too good to be true, it is. Are you still looking for a truly effective spot reduction device? They're just after the Unicorn section. In other words, no such thing exists -- for your low back or anywhere else.

However, that doesn't mean you can start toning the muscles around your middle so you'll have something worth looking at when you slim down.

Sun salutations are like one-stop shopping for exercising the back muscles.
Sun salutations are like one-stop shopping for exercising the back muscles. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Targeting the Lower Back Muscles

Approach exercises for the lower back with caution because they're easy to strain and once injured, can be tricky for life. It's important to do a well-rounded routine of core strength exercises that target the lower back muscles -- namely the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles -- along with exercises that work the hip flexors and the other muscles that affect your posture, balance and gait.

If you want a slender lower back and you don't already have one, you'll definitely want to throw in some crunches to tone up the rectus abdominus -- the sheath of muscle where the proverbial six-pack lives -- because strong abs support the lower back.

Be sure to add in some twisting crunches to give definition to the obliques, the side muscles that flank the lower back. Bird Dog is an excellent place to start with the back muscles themselves, and if you're in the mood for yoga, Sun Salutations come complete with forward folds, plank and partial push-ups that will strengthen you all around the middle and elsewhere too.

Read More: How to Lose Back Fat Fast

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