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Back Pain Center

Exercises to Define Lower Back Muscles

author image Alia Butler
Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.
Exercises to Define Lower Back Muscles
Woman with strong back muscles faces windows wearing boxing gloves. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images


Building the lower back muscles can help you look and feel better about yourself, but it can also help reduce your back pain. Stronger lower back muscles will help reduce back fatigue. Learning lower back exercises you can to do at home and at your local fitness center will help increase the definition of your back muscles.


Pull-ups are a common exercise that can be done at the local fitness center or by buying a pull-up bar for your home. According to Strong Lifts.com, pull-ups are done with your palms gripping the bar facing away from you and focus more on building back muscles than do chin-ups.

Grab the bar, and pull your dead body weight up off the ground until your chin is above the bar. Then, lower yourself back down slowly. You will feel the muscles in your arms and down your back lifting you. Do as many pull-ups as you can, and increase the amount as you get stronger.

Good Mornings

You will need a barbell and weights to do good mornings. Start off with low weights on the bar, and make sure to have a spotter. Place the bar resting on your shoulders behind your head. Hold the bar on either side of your head to stabilize it. Stand up straight, and spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, bend forward at the waist and come back up. Only bend as far as you can; you don’t want to fall forward.

Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, resting between the repetitions. This exercise will target your lower back muscles specifically and build them up.

Back Extensions

Back extensions are best performed at a fitness center where you will have access to a back extension machine, but you can purchase your own machine. Lie on your stomach on the machine and loop your feet through the feet holders. Then, raise your head and stomach off the machine. Your lower back, buttocks and legs will be used to raise you off the machine. Make sure your arms are placed on the back of your head and your elbows are out, perpendicular to the rest of your body.

Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. To increase resistance and build more muscle, hold a weight against your chest while you are doing the sets.

Hip Bridge

Do this lower back muscle-building exercise without any additional equipment. According to Real Simple.com, the hip bridge stabilizes the muscles around your spine, your lower back and your buttocks.

Lie on your back with your legs bent at the knees and your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms and hands flat on the floor along side of your body. Then, squeeze the muscles in your buttocks and abs, and raise your buttocks and hips off of the floor. Make a sloped ramp with your body using your knees as the top of the ramp. Slowly let your hips and buttocks down to the floor.

Real Simple.com suggests doing 10 to 12 repetitions and holding each repetition for a two-count. Avoid using your hands and arms to push your body up -- use them only for stabilization.

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