Lower back pain is a common problem among those who sit a lot, but also among those who do different workouts such as bodybuilding. Unfortunately, I’m among these people. I sit a lot in front of my computer. Although I do training regularly, I did not spend enough time strengthening my lower back.
Then, I read an article about why everybody needs to develop lower back muscles. I found some seriously useful stability ball workouts, and I have done them for about two months now. I do these stability ball exercises 3-4 times a week for about 15 minutes. And the results? My back pain has almost gone.
I was a bit skeptical at first. Won’t it be dangerous for my hurting back if I do those core strengthening exercises? Won’t it be worse? But the answer is: no!
There is one particularly important thing, though. Firstly, spend at least 5-10 minutes warming up your muscle groups, your back, shoulders, legs, etc. And if you have not done any low back training yet, start with milder activities. Of course, always keep the correct form and control the movement. The best is if you get help from a physical therapist.
There is no question that a hyperextension bench is the most beneficial equipment to strengthen the lower back because we can get 45 or 90-degree angles. But, it’s a more challenging workout so I don’t recommend it for people with back problems. You can read about the best Roman chairs /hyperextension benches here, which let you improve your back muscles efficiently at home.
Why the Balance Ball is Great for Low Back Pain?
I have a Swiss ball which lets me do different sorts of training. This simple equipment is a perfect thing to improve the strength of the lower back (lumbar region). I also use it for my abdominal training. I think it is must-have fitness equipment.
Back pain sufferers can use the exercise ball technique combined with a rehabilitation program to help prevent or reduce further occurrences of low back pain. By strengthening and developing the muscles that stabilize the spine, the ball is effective in back rehabilitation.
The bouncy ball adds an element of instability to the exercise that is not normally present in floor exercises. When the exercise ball becomes unstable, the body responds naturally and automatically to keep balance. As you progress, the muscles you use to remain balanced will grow stronger.
Exercise balls are great for people with back pain because:
- The core muscles used to stabilize the spine are improved in balance and coordination. No matter what physical activity you do, you will feel the difference.
- They’re simple and versatile. The unstable surfaces of them help you get moving again after incurring back pain.
- Exercise tends to keep the spine in a neutral position.
- Stability exercises using Swiss balls are designed to help maintain a healthy spine by controlling the motion. The risk of injury during the training is low.
- Thanks to the stronger muscle mass, we can get a proper posture.
- Weak muscles in surrounding areas can lead to low back pain because they force the low back to struggle. With stability ball core exercises, we can safely and effectively build a strong core.
- The spine moves more freely and is more flexible. The treatment also keeps its natural curve.
Why I like it is that it does not stress my spine, and I can do powerful extensions and exercise ball back stretches.
Here, I have collected the best five videos to strengthen the lower back muscles using a physio ball. Follow the suggestions and instructions in the videos, do them at least 3-4 times a week.
You will see that your back pain will pass away. You will also feel the advantages when you do other training, such as abdominal moves.
These yoga ball workouts are suitable for both men and women. The first three videos are for those who have a basic level of fitness. The last two are for beginners and for those who want to reduce low back pain.
stability ball exercises for low back
1. Stability ball back extension
This one is an alternative for hyperextension using a machine. The starting position is to lay on the ball facing the ground. You should place your lower body comfortably.
As you see, you need to pull yourself up as high as possible. The higher you go, the more tension there is. Concentrate on your muscles and keep your stability. Do not do it too fast. It is crucial to do it correctly.
This is one of my favorite extension exercises for lower back stability. The training itself is similar to the one mentioned before, but because your feet are fixed on the wall, we can go higher. It is essential to keep our feet stable to keep a balanced position. Also, while you are in an extended position, hold for a few seconds, and then lower your torso slowly back down to the ball. Tighten your stomach muscles and hold your neck during the movement.
At first, you may find it hard to get into the right position, but it is worth spending time with testing. It is a powerful way to strengthen the back and hamstring muscles. Do 10-20 repetitions.
3. Ball Bridges
This core workout is a bit different from the mentioned ones. You need to put your feet on the top of the ball and lay on the floor. You need to stable yourself by using your arms. Then you will need to push your waist up. As you can see from the video, there are many variations. One way is to keep your hip up for some seconds. This depends on your fitness level.
The other is to place your arms on your chest, keep your stability with your elbows, and push your glutes up. So, you lie on your shoulder blades with legs straight. This is a bit harder since you will have to concentrate on maintaining your balance. The even better and harder way is not to use your arms at all. I do the last exercise for 45-60 seconds. It also helps to train abdominal muscles, as well.
If you have not done any swiss ball exercises for lower back pain, I suggest these basic moves start with. These stability ball back exercises help to develop your muscles mildly.
This core muscle activation requires you to tighten your glutes, pull your abdominals in, and squeeze your legs in order for your body to remain straight. Unlike crunches, this move is a bit more challenging.
Learn more: Best fitness ball exercises for obliques
5. Swiss ball for physical therapy
This is another excellent video on how to use a Swiss ball for rehab and to improve core muscles stability. The video includes a comprehensive overview of stretches on the ball, core stability and spinal mobility exercises, rehabilitation protocols, and strength training exercises – for beginner and advanced ball users.
Do not forget, after doing the routine to do stretching.
Swiss ball spinal rotations
Roll your spine while putting your feet and calves on the ball (drop your knees to one side and turn the ball slowly). Don’t go too fast, but make sure you control the movement with your core muscles.
Exercise ball back stretches
It is also an excellent tool to stretch your back safely. From the following video, you can learn the best stretches on the fitness ball. Easy and effective methods for stretching with a stability ball that you can do at home, at the gym, or at your workplace.
These moments help to unlock your hip flexors. If you have tight hips, it is worth taking a few minutes per day to stretch them out to prevent injuries, pain, and restricted mobility.
Don’t you own a ball? Don’t worry. There are many other movements you can do without the need for any equipment.
How to Choose the Right Yoga Ball Size?
A single piece of equipment does not fit all people. There are several factors to consider when choosing, but in general, this chart below can serve as a guide.
Other than that, you’ve got to remember that the smaller the ball, the harder it is. Scale up or down depending on how you’re going to use it. It is better to use smaller stability balls for abdominal exercises, and a larger one can be used as a bench for workouts.
Is sitting on an exercise ball good for lower back pain?
Whenever you sit, your spine is compressed. Your back muscles are not supported by the ball. They are only challenged by it. When used for too long, compression and inadequate support may worsen injuries, conditions, and muscle imbalances.
The whole point of these videos was to show how you can do practical lower back exercises on a stability ball. For some bucks, you can get one and start the workouts to improve your whole core stability and to get rid of the pain. Go ahead and try this back workout and share your experience with us.
Do you know other ideas on how to use the exercise ball for lower back pain relief? Share with us below.
- Silfies SP, Ebaugh D, Pontillo M, Butowicz CM. Critical review of the impact of core stability on upper extremity athletic injury and performance. Braz J Phys Ther. 2015 Sep-Oct;19(5):360-8. doi: 10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0108. From: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26537806/
- Sukalinggam CL, Sukalinggam GL, Kasim F, Yusof A. Stability Ball Training on Lower Back Strength has Greater Effect in Untrained Female Compared to Male. J Hum Kinet. 2012;33:133-141. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3588679/