Workouts that focus on the lower abs and pelvic muscles not only improve lower back support, they also offer other benefits. Simple exercises that isolate the pelvic girdle, pelvic floor muscles, and lower abs can go a long way toward helping men fight lower back pain and strain and fend off bowel and bladder issues.
Usually prescribed for women, kegel exercises are tiny movements that are easy, can be done anywhere at any time, and are effective for men as well. The pelvic floor muscles can be isolated by contracting as if you were trying to stop yourself from urinating. Hold this contraction for a count of four to 10, and build up to longer contractions as you strengthen the area. Repeat the contraction 10 to 50 times a day. A 10-second rest is recommended between contractions to ensure that you are isolating the correct muscles.
A pelvic tilt is another simple exercise that can be performed to strengthen the lower abs and pelvic muscles. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and arms resting at your sides. Contract your lower abs into your spine and hold for five seconds, pause and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 20 times. The movement will naturally tilt your pelvis up if you perform it correctly. Make sure that you do not use your thigh or gluteus muscles to perform the exercise.
The reverse crunch activates the upper and lower abdominal muscles. Lie on your back on the floor with your hips flexed so that your upper legs are perpendicular to the floor, your knees are bent to 90-degrees, and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Keep your arms at your sides along the floor for support. This is your start position. Contract your lower abs into your spine and lift your hips up off the floor. Pause at the top of the movement and return to the start position. Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Lie on your back on the floor with both feet about 10 to 12 inches off the floor. Cross your arms over your chest. This is your starting position. Bend your right leg and bring your knee toward your chest, while you keep your left leg straight. Perform a semi-crunch movement, rotate your torso slightly, and bring your left elbow up to meet your knee as it comes toward your chest. Pause briefly and then return to the starting position. Repeat the move with your left leg and right elbow to complete one repetition. Do 25 to 50 reps.
Before you try these exercises or add any new exercises to your workout routine, consult your doctor to make sure that you will not exacerbate an old injury. If you feel any pain or discomfort beyond normal muscle fatigue while you perform the exercise, check with a trainer to make sure that your form is correct, and see a doctor to ensure you have not sustained an injury.