Lower Back Pain Stretches for Strength and Pain Relief

Lower Back Pain Stretches

Lower back pain stretches are a must if you have strained your lower back. It is your road back to peace and sanity. It is the key to healing an injured lower back, and protecting a healthy lower back against future injury.

Even if you have never strained your back, consistent lower back stretches are a very effective way to avoid lower back strains in your future. Stretches not only keep your muscles flexible and loose, but are also key to strengthening your back.

According to stats from the National Institute of Health, 4 out of 5 adults (yes…a whopping 80%!) will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Many are dealing with this pain on a daily basis. A huge and daunting number, but it can be dealt with, and lower back pain stretches are a great first start. (1)

Table of Contents

Main Takeaways

  • Lower back pain can be the result of improper warm-up, lack of stretching, or poor form when lifting.

  • Lower back pain stretches improve circulation, flexibility, and can strengthen your muscles.

  • Stretch your lower back muscles daily to improve mobility and back health.

Muscles Stretched

Primary Muscles Stretched 🙆‍♂️

  • Lower Back

Secondary Muscles Stretched 🙆‍♂️

  • Hamstings
  • Glutes
  • Abs

Lower Back Pain Stretches…Hope Springs Eternal

There are few things more debilitating than a strained lower back. It can honestly ruin every day while you’re experiencing it.

Most fitness injuries are a result of improper warm-up and stretching. It can happen so quickly, and at first a back injury might seem mild. However, you wake up the next day and it’s a very different story. And you can’t imagine what the coming months can bring.

You wake up in the morning and stretch your lower back on the floor.  Then throughout the day you have your feet up on you desk at work, searching for relief. Then constantly adjusting the lumbar roll in the base of your chair.  Then getting “stuck” in certain positions…where you can’t move for 30 seconds until you wiggle your way out of it – grimacing the whole time.

If you’ve every had lower back pain all of this will sound very familiar. Too familiar.

Then you’re off to physical therapy in the afternoon, where you barrage the therapist with the same nagging question…”Do you think my back will ever get better?” Many of us have been there.

Then at night doing lower back pain stretches before you go to bed. Following every routine and stretch you’re learning in therapy. Then trying to find that perfect position while sleeping to avoid the midnight pinch. Then waking up the next day for another adventure…it can be endless.

It can take months to fully recover, and the guiding wisdom from therapists, orthopedics, and the like. But yes, for most people, it does eventually get better…and maybe even better than ever!

By following the lower back pain stretches below, you can improve your strained back, or better yet, never have a back strain to begin with.

Hope springs eternal!

Lower Back Pain Stretches

Hamstring Stretch for Lower Back Health

Hamstring Stretching
This stretch is first for a reason…most orthopedics will tell you that there is no more important stretch for lower back health than the hamstring stretch. And most people are completely unaware of this fact.

A tight hamstring puts continuous pressure on the lower back, creating tension on the muscles. Conversely, a well-stretched hamstring gives the lower back relief, and reduces or eliminates this tension.

  1. Position 1 leg on a chair, table, or any fixed object as shown.
  2. Lean forward with your upper body, but do not curl your upper body toward your knee.  Keep your head on the same plane.
  3. Hold this position for 20 seconds – Recover.
  4. Stretch the other leg.

Knee to Chest Stretch

Knee to Chest Stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended.
  2. Lift one leg and pull your knee to your chest – hold for 10-20 seconds – Recover
  3. Alternate legs
  4. Lift both legs and pull your knees to your chest – hold for 10-20 seconds – Recover
  5. Repeat this cycle 5 times

Bridge Stretch

Back Bridge Stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent
  2. Push your body off the floor until your back is aligned straight
  3. Hold for 20 seconds – Recover
  4. Repeat this 5 times

Arch Stretch

Arch Stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent
  2. Keeping your rear on the ground, arch your back as far as you can
  3. Hold this position for 20 seconds – Recover
  4. Repeat this 5 times

Superman Stretch (improve lower back strength)Superman Stretch Lower Back Pain

  1. Lie face down on your stomach with your arms and legs “spread eagle”
  2. Lift your arms and legs at the same time as far as you comfortably can and hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds (depending on your conditioning level) – Recover
  3. Repeat this 5 times

Seated Torso Rotation

Seated Torso Stretch for Lower Back Pain

  1. Sit in a chair and cross your left leg over your right leg
  2. Turn your torso to your right, and use your left leg to brace your turn
  3. Hold for 20 seconds – Recover
  4. Now do the opposite leg and rotate to your left
  5. Repeat this 5 times

Modified Push-up

Modified Pushup Lower Back Stretch

  1. Lay face-down on your stomach
  2. Do a modified push-up keeping your lower body on the floor
  3. Hold position for 10 seconds – Recover
  4. Repeat 5 times

Hyperextensions (strengthen and stretch the lower back)

Hyperextensions for Lower Back Pain

  1. Position yourself on the hyperextension bench
  2. Slowly lower your upper body to the down position – hold for 3 seconds
  3. Extend your body to the up position – hold for 3 seconds
  4. Repeat until your lower back is sufficiently worked

Caution:  The up and down movements should be very slow and controlled.

The key to effective hyperextensions is holding the stretch for 3 seconds in the up and the down position.  This isolates and forces the lower back muscles to work, and stretch. Click to learn more about hyperextension exercise.

Back Extensions

Back Extensions
Back extensions require gym equipment, but are an excellent exercise to strengthen the lower back.

The key is to hold the up and down positions for 3 seconds, and to always use slow and controlled movements – never jerky.



Performing sit-ups on a regular basis will strengthen your abs and torso, and therefore strengthen your core.  A strong, flexible core is essential to lower back comfort.  Again, recommended by orthopedics for lower back and core strength.

Post Workout Stretch

At the end of every stretching or workout routine, stretch your lower back in a Precor Stretch Trainer. These machines are exceptional for stretching the lower back. If you are not interested in making that investment, then you can use the floor to achieve a similar stretch.

Benefits of Lower Back Pain Stretches

Lower Back Pain StretchesThe following outlines the benefits of lower back pain stretches:

  • Creates more flexibility in the muscles of the lower back, thus reducing the risk of injury or strain
  • Will improve the pain and discomfort in the lower back if you have suffered an injury
  • Improve circulation
  • When performed as part of a lower back workout routine, will strengthen your lower back

Despite the pain and discomfort that you might feel dealing with a lower back strain, many people are eventually grateful that they went through the experience. The reason…as a result of the lower back pain stretches and exercises that you learn, your back is now stronger than ever.

Equally important…you are more knowledgeable and educated than ever on how to keep your lower back healthy. And you’ll follow these exercises very diligently on a near daily basis.

Even though your back is stronger than ever, you won’t risk the activity that first created the injury. Another lesson learned.

The lower back pain stretches above are time-tested, offered by professionals, and comprehensive.

Remember…never stretch cold muscles. Always do some form of light cardio for a few minutes to get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up (such as hopping in place, jumping jacks, or jumping rope). (2

Also check our post on lat stretches for upper and middle back.

Tips to Avoid Lower Back Strains

Finally, here are some tips to avoid lower back strains in your future:

  • When lifting heavy objects, always use your legs to do the lifting, not your torso and back. Never use jerky motions – always slow and cautious.
  • Stretch your lower back every day for flexibility and strength. Follow the stretches above on this page.
  • Perform resistance exercises to strengthen back, torso, and core – hyperextensions, sit-ups, crunches, back extensions, etc.
  • Always maintain good posture.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – obesity is a significant risk factor for back problems.
  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes with solid support.
  • Never smoke – this interferes with blood circulation and therefore affects nutrients supplied to the bones and discs in the lumbar area. 
Click to see more stretching routines, and also to check our video library on stretching.
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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Low back pain fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet
  2. Rachel Lapidos Rachel Lapidos. (2020, January 24). I’m a professional stretcher and this is the one thing I’d never, ever do to muscles. Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/stretching-cold-muscles/#:~:text=Having%20%22cold%22%20muscles%20basically%20means,d%20in%20New%20York%20City.

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