A Quick 10-Minute Lower-Body Workout for People With Back Pain

Back pain is very common, but exercises like squats and glute bridges can help prevent it.
Image Credit: kali9/E+/GettyImages

If you spend your days working at a desk or you have a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, chances are you have experienced back pain.

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In fact, back pain is one of the most common pains people will experience throughout their lives, according to the ‌Handbook of Clinical Neurology‌. Fortunately, there are ways to help relieve back pain with a quick lower-body workout.

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Though we feel pain in our back, it's likely due to a weakness or tightness in our lower body. One area we may experience weakness that contributes to lower back pain is in our glutes. An August 2018 study in the ‌International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy‌ shows a connection between lower back pain and a weak gluteus maximus and gluteus medius.

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Tight hamstrings are another culprit of back pain. A May 2017 review in ‌BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders‌ found that the less flexibility we have in our hamstrings, the higher the likelihood is that we will experience lower back pain.

Using mini resistance bands while working out allows for maximum activation of your gluteus medius and gluteus maximus compared to exercising without them, according to the ‌International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy‌ study.

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How to Do the Workout

Try this 10-minute lower-body mini band workout to fire up and strengthen your glutes to prevent back pain. This workout can also be done as a warm-up, for one set, to accompany a longer workout (like this 20-minute lower-body workout) if you have the time. Do each exercise one time through for the amount of reps listed below and repeat for three sets.

Things You'll Need

  • A mini resistance band

  • An exercise mat is optional

1. Banded Lateral Walk

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Sets 3
Reps 6
Body Part Butt and Legs
  1. Place a mini resistance band around your legs about 2 inches under your knees.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees and sit your hips back into a slight squatting position.
  3. Step your right foot out laterally, staying in a squatting position.
  4. Step your left foot to meet your right foot, keeping them hip-width apart.
  5. Step out 3 times to your right.
  6. Return back leading with your left foot, stepping 3 times. That is one rep.

Tip

Be sure you keep your feet parallel to each other, and lead with your heel as you step to the side.

2. Banded Front Walk

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Sets 3
Reps 6
Body Part Butt and Legs
  1. Place a mini resistance band around your legs about 2 inches under your knees.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees and sit your hips back into a slight squatting position.
  3. Step your right foot forward, staying in a squatting position.
  4. Step your left foot forward.
  5. Step forward 4 times, finishing with your feet next to each other.
  6. Return back leading with your left foot, stepping 4 times. That is one rep.
  7. Start with the left foot on the next rep.

Tip

Be careful to keep your knees over your feet at all times.

3. Banded Squat to Leg Lift

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Sets 3
Reps 6
Body Part Butt and Legs
  1. Place a mini resistance band around your legs about 2 inches under your knees.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  3. Perform a full squat by keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back straight, bracing your core and pushing your hips back and down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
  4. Drive through your heels to stand back up, then lift your right leg up and out to the side.
  5. Repeat the squat, then lift your left leg up and out to the side.

Tip

When lifting your leg, try to stay as straight up as possible and prevent your body from leaning to the side to be sure to activate your glutes.

4. Banded Glute Bridge

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Sets 3
Reps 12
Body Part Butt and Legs
  1. Place a mini resistance band around your legs about 2 inches under your knees.
  2. Lie on your back with your arms resting by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the ground hip-width apart. Your feet should be close enough to your hips that if you reach one hand at a time toward each heel, you can just touch it with your fingertips.
  3. Relax your arms alongside your body. Think of your shoulders being "glued" to the floor to help keep your spine neutral.
  4. Squeeze your glutes and core, and press your heels into the ground to drive your hips up toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to chest. Resist the urge to arch your lower back as you raise your hips. Focus on keeping your spine in a neutral position throughout.
  5. Hold this position for a few seconds with your glutes engaged.
  6. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground and reset in the starting position for a second before lifting back up.

Tip

To progress this exercise, you can hold a dumbbell vertically across your hips.

5. Banded Clamshell

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Sets 3
Reps 6
Body Part Butt
  1. Place a mini resistance band around your legs about 2 inches under your knees.
  2. Lie on your right side and stack your legs on top of one another, knees and hips bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Press your bottom leg into the floor and, with your heels pressed together, squeeze your glutes to raise your top knee toward the ceiling.
  4. Raise your knee as high as you can without letting your pelvis rock forward or backward.
  5. Pause, then slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat.
  6. Do all reps, then switch sides.

Tip

It's important your hips stay stacked through the entirety of the move to activate your muscles properly.

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