Most runners understand the benefits core strength can have on their running. But for many, core work means a heavy focus on abs. While only occasionally working on strengthening their lower back. This ab focused training can often lead to muscle imbalances. And when combined with prolonged sitting (especially at work) can lead problems later in life. So to become a stronger runner lets a look at the 5 best lower back workouts for runners.
These lower back workouts can be done anywhere and without any equipment for their standard form. I will add in some progressions for those looking to level up which may require equipment. Additionally, all of the movements will include a video so you can make sure you are doing it correctly.
Lower Back Workouts For Runners
1. Bird Dogs
Bird Dogs are a popular workout amongst trainers and physical therapists for their ability to safely target the the core, lower back, glutes, and ham strings. The primary muscle really targeted in this workout is the erector spinae muscle. Which runs from your skull to your hips and is responsible for extending, flexing, and the rotation of the spine.
Level Up: Standing Bird Dogs
To level up, try out the Standing Bird Dog. This will increase the difficulty and really work on your stabilizer muscles throughout your whole body.
2. Bear Crawl
The Bear Crawl is a popular warm up exercise for a lot of trainers. But this is one exercise you should be doing for more than just a warm up. When performed correctly, the bear crawl is an awesome bodyweight burner that will engage every muscle from the forearms to your feet. The real star of this workout though is the posterior chain, including your Spinal Erectors, glutes and ham strings.
You can do this workout in a small space but it is better to give yourself a good 50 feet to get the proper burn. Don’t rush the movement and the slower you move the more effective the movement and more it will burn!
Level Up: Reverse Bear Crawl
Looking to taking it to the level, try the Reverse Bear Crawl. This variation will load your shoulders with your bodyweight making it a the perfect combo with the forward bear crawl. For a burn try 3 sets of 50 feet forward and 50 feet backwards. I promise you wont be thinking of this a a warm yuo exercise after.
3. Glute Bridge
The Glute Bridge is a an incredibly popular workout for a reason. It’s one of the few ways to load the the glutes and hamstrings without loading the lower back or spine. So if we are not loading the lower back, how is this a lower back workout? Glad you asked! While the lower back is not placed under load it is used for stabilization while targeting your glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles.
Level Up: Banded Glute Bridges
If you suffer for poor glute activation than this workout is for you! The banded glute bridge uses a resistance band placed around your knees or calves. In resisting the band from pulling your knees in your glutes are forced to engage. This will help you build your glute strength and program your body into using the glutes more often when the band is not there. This is a common exercise for improving squats and for quad dominant runners.
4. Plank Rows
Plank Rows are one of the most under utilized exercises around. Which is crazy because planks still seem to be as popular as ever. What makes the plank row so valuable for runners are the is the stability muscles the movement requires. Starting the full arm plank make sure to engage your glutes to tighten the rear posterior chain. Then pull one arm up in a revers pushup motion, keeping your plank position with one hand.
To make this more harder you can place your feet closer together. The further apart your feet are the easier the movement is. You can also slow down the movement to make it harder.
Level Up: Add Weight
When adding weight it’s important to start light and keep the movement controlled. You will see a lot of people jerking their body, this typically happens when the weight is too heavy.
5. Reverse Tabletop Pose / Reverse Plank Bridge
While this move may have a couple different names including the Reverse Tabletop, Reverse Plank Bridge and the Half Upward Plank. We do know that it originated as a Yoga pose and has an incredible list of benefits for all athletes. And especially runners! Not only does this move force you to engage your glutes, core and shoulders. It’s actually going to stretch out your quads and hips while you do it. The Reverse Table Top is one of the moves you can do almost everyday. This is one of my favorite lower back workouts for runners. Try building up to three sets of 1 minute holds in the position.
Level Up: Reverse Plank
If you want to level up the Reverse Table Top, look no further than the Reverse Plank. This more forces your entire reach posterior chain to hold and stabilize your body. Start with a 30 second hold and build up to 3 sets of 1 minute Reverse Planks.
Am I missing your favorite workout? In the comments below let me know your favorite lower back workouts for runners!
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