Exercises for the Lower Back & Pelvis

By Josh Baum
Stretching exercises can improve your golf swing.
Stretching exercises can improve your golf swing.

Every time you take a golf swing, you test the flexibility of your spine and hip joints. You also put stress on your lower back and pelvis muscles, which can make you sore in a hurry if you're not properly loosened up. By performing lower back and pelvis exercises on a regular basis, you can strengthen these muscles and help prevent fatigue and tenderness. These exercises are also great ways to loosen up before a round of golf.

Squats

Squats are basic exercises that build the pelvic muscles and also tone glutes and thighs. To perform a basic squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart, stick out your buttocks and bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair. Stretch your arms straight out in front of you and bend your elbows 90 degrees so that your hands point at the ceiling. From here, stand straight up, then squat straight back down to the original sitting position to do one squat rep. Start with two sets of 10 reps and gradually increase the number of sets and reps as you get stronger and gain more confidence with this exercise. If you want to make it even more difficult, you can hold light hand weights, but this won't directly affect the pelvis or lower back.

Pelvic Tilt

This is a simple, no-impact exercise that tones both the pelvis and lower back. For this move, lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent, your feet flat on the mat and your hands clasped behind your head, just like you would do for a crunch. To do a rep, tighten your buttocks, abs and upper thighs in order to press the small of your back flat against the mat as hard as you can. This is sort of like doing the first 1/10th of a crunch or sit up; your hands and head may lift off the mat slightly, but no more than an inch or two. Start with two sets of 10 reps and try to increase your sets and reps over time.

Back Extensions

Back extensions are also low-impact and they zero in on the lower back muscles. To begin this simple exercise, lie face down on an exercise mat. Point your toes onto the mat so that your ankles are a few inches off the mat, place your fingertips on the back of your head and look directly forward so that your chin is touching the mat. Engage your abs and keep them clenched, then slightly lift your chest and chin a few inches off the mat by contracting your back muscles backward. You should feel the greatest pull in your lower back. Hold each rep for a full second before gently lowering your chest and chin back to the mat. Again, start with two sets of 10 reps and work your way up as you feel ready.

Hip Extensions

This is another great combo exercise that works the pelvis and lower back together. Perform this stretch by getting on your hands and knees on an exercise mat. Place your forearms and palms flat on the mat and position your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Position your knees directly beneath your hips and keep them bent at 90 degrees. Make sure your spine forms a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone. Do a rep by lifting one leg back and up while keeping the knee bent 90 degrees; at the end of the rep, the bottom of your foot should be facing the ceiling and your thigh should be parallel to the floor. Gently lower the leg to the starting position. Do a set of 10 reps on one leg, followed immediately by a set of 10 reps on the other leg. Increase reps and sets as you feel ready to do so, but make sure you do an even number on each side.

The Cobra

This exercise will also stretch and tone the lower back and pelvic muscles, but it's more of a stretch than an exercise with reps. Begin this traditional Yoga exercise by lying face down on an exercise mat with your legs straight out behind you, your toes pointed and the tops of your feet on the mat. Place your palms flat on the mat beneath your shoulders, tuck your elbows close to your sides and lightly touch your chin to the mat. Breathe deeply, and as you inhale, press your hands into the mat to lift your head, followed by your chest and then your navel. Keep your hips and everything below them stationary while exaggerating this stretch, tilting your head backward toward your feet and arching your back as far as you can comfortably. Hold the pose through the end of your long inhalation, then exhale deeply as you slowly return to the original position. Repeat this move up to nine more times in each set.

Photo Credits

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