Low Back Exercise – 1

man bending forward improperly

The video below shows a simple exercise that can ‘wake-up’ key spinal muscles that, when not working as they should, prevent the spine from bending forward correctly.

Because this exercise decompresses the low back, it often results in better backward bending too.


If you aren’t a patient of our clinic, don’t use this exercise until you have consulted your doctor or therapist. My patients will have been briefed and shown how and when to do this. This exercise is not for ‘blanket use’.

The muscles affected are primarily the lumbar spinal erectors, the gluteus maximus and hamstring chain, and the all-important psoas group (a hip flexor).

Typical uses

  • You’ve just had a back pain episode and things are settling, but your low back muscles are still reluctant to bend forward as well as they did before.
  • You have a stiff back after a lot of sitting and need to get it moving again.
  • You want to wake up your back before exercise or vigorous movement – this is a great one to incorporate into a stretch routine.

When not to do this exercise

  • Any significant breathing or cardiac problems – it’s quite exertional.
  • You’ve got a painful knee or hip problem.
  • You get sciatic pain down a leg when doing it.
  • Any mild to moderate low back-ache that does not go as you do the exercise.
  • Any severe low back pain.
  • If this exercise causes any dizziness, vertigo or a headache, stop.

What to expect?

Test out your bending forward range before and after doing the exercise.

If the exercise has worked, you should find bending a lot easier after the exercise than before.


Play Video

Take care not to rock so far back that you fall backwards. Get into the exercise carefully until you are familiar with it.