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Exercises For Lower Back Pain–Ralph Kramden Would Love These


Exercises For Lower Back Pain—Ralph Kramden Would Love These

Stretching the back can minimize back pain. When you stretch the back, you promote healthy joints, muscles, bones, connective tissues, and so on. Stretch exercises are the action of expanding the muscles, which straightens them.  Even for people without back pain doing a back stretch work out is beneficial because since it stretches the muscles, joints, bones, etc, thus promoting fluid and blood flow.Various types of stretch workouts recline and rest the back. When you perform stretch workouts, you want to make sure that you perform the actions correctly however; otherwise, you can tear tissues, muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Keeping that in mind, lets first look at exercises not to do if you want to maintain a healthy back.

Exercises unsuitable for lower back pain

Toe touches :You’ll be excused if you thought toe touches were the perfect way to stretch  your body. It’s one of those iconic things that’s drilled into our minds as a good example of a healthy body.  Think about “The Honeymooners”, a classic sitcom starring Jackie Gleason as the overweight Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden, his wife, Alice (Audrey Meadows), and their neighbors Ed and Trixie. In a heated argument Ralph tells Alice that she’s so naive that she would bend down and pick up a penny dropped by a stranger.

“I wouldn’t,” he says.

Alice looks at his big body, accented   even more by the bus uniform, and delivers this zinger:

“You couldn’t.”

Ralph is deflated. So it’s reasonable to say, “I don’t want to be like Ralph. I want to be able to touch my toes”.

The problem is that when you do standing toe touches you put a lot of stress on discs and ligaments of the back. Don’t do them. .(1.)

Sit ups : Yes, I know all the talk about how sit ups can make your stomach strong, and of course a strong core is vital for a healthy back. That said, have you realized what really goes on when you do sit ups? You’re straining your neck and curling your spine. This is an invitation for back strain.(2.)

Leg lifts :  I will admit that years ago,before I knew better, I bought into the whole notion that leg lifts are a great thing to do if you want a strong core and stomach muscles. Then I wondered why my back hurt. Here’s why. When I was raising two legs at the same time I was not only putting undue stress on my stomach muscles, but I was also straining my lower back muscles. I always felt that tingling in my back—kind of a warning signal. I’m sure that If I had continued with the the traditional leg lifts of raising two legs at the same time  it would only be a matter of time before I had back pain.

Lifting weights :  I actually think lifting weights can be a great way to strengthen the body’s muscles. That said, weightlifting саn put a lot оf stress оn the spine.  As stated in an earlier  post, along with muѕсlе and ligament injuries, weightlifters are аlѕо аt risk for a tуре оf stress feature in the bасk саllеd ѕроndуlоlуѕiѕ.  You should avoid certain weightlifting еxеrсiѕеѕ that аrе more stressful оn your spine. Sоmе of these аrе squats, clean-аnd-jerks, snatches,and dеаd-liftѕ. I have said this before, but it’s worth repeating. When it comes to exercising, especially weight lifting, you should take things gradually. Never go beyond your strength.

Here is a last tip, but it’s a big one. Movement, as stated in my other posts, is very important  part of maintaining good health. However, never do anything that will jerk your body.

Exercises suitable for lower back pain

Press up back extensions : Lying on your stomach with hands next to shoulders. Push up with your hands lifting your shoulders off the floor. If possible, place your elbows under your shoulders and rest in this position for 10 seconds.

Next, perform the knee flexes. Lift your leg and place your foot on a hard surface, such as a chair. Keep the opposite leg straight and use it as support.

Hold the stance and count to ten. Lower the leg and continue to the opposite leg. Now do the ski. Stand erect. Extend one foot to the front and the other to the back. Lunge and gradually lower the weight of your body. Bend the front leg and rest your body weight on the hands. With the behind leg straight and the heel lifted from the ground count to ten and shift to the other leg.

Lying hamstring stretches : You can do these exercises  instead of toe touches. They will improve flexibility and suppleness in hamstring muscles.  Lie on your back with one knee bent. Loop a towel around the other foot and straighten the leg while slowly pulling on the towel.  Pull on the towel until you feel a gentle stretch on the back of your leg.  Hold for up to 30 seconds and then change to the other leg.  Perform this stretch for each leg 3 times.



Crunches : Here is the great thing about crunches that makes them a better and safer alternative to sit ups. Sit ups use stomach and hip muscles, but crunches target stomach muscles only without putting strain on the lower back.  Crunches are ideal for strengthening core muscles that will help support the spine.  Lie flat on the floor with knees bent and lower back in contact with the floor/mat.

Cross your arms on your chest or put hands next to your ears and elbows out.  Pick a spot in the ceiling above and in front of you and breathe out as you raise your shoulders.  Keep your focus on the same spot in the ceiling and do not strain your neck forward.  Hold for a second and then breathe in as you lower your shoulders back to the floor.  Repeat movement  8 to 12 times.

Leg lift (one leg) :  I do this , and folks I have say it works a lot better than lifting  both legs. Here’s how to do the exercise with one leg. Lying flat on the floor with one knee bent on the floor, raise the other straight leg 6 – 12 inches off the floor keeping your lower back flat on the mat.  Hold for a moment and then slowly lower.  Repeat for 8-12 times on each leg.

Press up back extensions : Lying on your stomach with hands next to shoulders. Push up with your hands lifting your shoulders off the floor. If possible, place your elbows under your shoulders and rest in this position for 10 seconds.

Bird dog :  I love the name, don’t you? Anyway, start in the box push-up position.This is when your hands are  directly under your shoulders and knees directly under the hips.  Keeping your back flat and holding your core firm at all times, lift one leg and extend it behind you.  Hold for a moment and then bring back your leg to its original position.  Repeat for 10 and then change legs.  As you become stronger, lengthen the amount of time you hold your leg extended.



Bridge :  Lie flat on the ground with knees bent and feet on floor. Push your feet down into the ground while lifting your buttocks off the floor trying to align your body from knee to shoulder.  Squeeze your buttocks and core muscles and hold for 5 seconds.  Slowly lower your hips to the floor and relax.  Repeat for another 10 times. Do not over arch your back at the top of this movement.

Bonus Tips. Back stretches to avoid back pain

What if you don’t have back pain, but you want to avoid it in the future. These exercise can help you avoid  back pain.

Working The Shoulders:

Starting with the shoulders, stand erect. Rest your hands upon the hips and shrug them shoulders. Rotate the shoulders in slow motion and to the back up to ten counts. Next, perform the same actions; yet rotate the shoulders in slow motion toward the front.

Working the triceps:

Triceps is the extensor muscles, which require stretching to avoid tension. Stand erect and lift your arm (Right) and rest the tips of your fingers on the shoulder. (Right) Use your free hand and push it against the opposite elbow. If possible, lower the fingers down the length of your back while pushing the elbow. Count to eight and perform the same actions on the opposite side.

Next, stretch them arms. Form a circle. First, stand erect while keeping your feet at shoulder length. Level the arms and stretch them outward in sync with the shoulders. Circle and bring the arms ahead. Count to ten and perform the same actions on the opposite side. Circle the arms largely as feasible.

Now work that torso. Stand erect, keep your feet at in alignment with the shoulders and gradually rotate (Starting at the waist), and then stretching to one side. Stretch ahead and move your body in rotation to the opposite side. Extend back and around again to the opposite side. Continue on each side.

Work that trunk:

Stand erect, keep the feet the length of your shoulders and slightly apart. Bend the knees slightly. Lock the fingers behind the head, and bend starting at the waistline, touching your right knee, joining it with the elbow on the right side. Next, rotate the torso, or trunk, rotating it to the left and then touch your left knee. Extend backwards to you are standing erect again.

Final Thoughts.

These exercise if done correctly should go a long way in helping you avoid and greatly reduce back pain. Give them a whirl. Maybe you have already tried some of them.

I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.

12 thoughts on “Exercises For Lower Back Pain–Ralph Kramden Would Love These

  1. Hi!
    Thanks for this article on lower back pain. I have had numerous back surgeries and still suffer with lower back pain. Will try some of these exercises as I had not seen them before now. Is there something I can do for chronic pain especially? Right now a heat pad and aleve is all I am doing. Great article!

    1. Hi Robin,

      I have a resource page, the link is below, that covers 5 general areas concerning chronic pain management. Perhaps you can find something that will help you. That said,essential oils, Tens therapy, massage therapy, pet therapy, Yoga exercises, music therapy, and meditation are some things that have shown good results. Please feel free to contact me should you have anymore questions. Helping people find solutions to their back pain and achieving a positive mindset is the mission of my website. My next article, for example, will discuss ” the best sleeping positions for back pain”. I have heard from readers that this is something that they would like to know more about. Stay tuned.

      Also, studies have shown that reading a good book can be an effective form of meditation because you get so involved in what the character is doing that the brain is distracted and goes from a place of stress and discomfort to a much better place. So go ahead and revisit you favorite author.

      Anyway, here are some of the things you might want to think about in relation to the whole spectrum of dealing with chronic pain.

      Medical side. When one first experiences chronic pain it’s natural to seek a medical solution, to believe the problem can be solved by medications or surgery.Retraining The Brian. Pain is produced by the brain. It’s possible that even when the body is out of danger, that is tissue is healed as best as possible, on going pain still persists. The brain must be retrained to deal with the sensitivity of the nervous system.Understanding How Emotions effect the nervous system and how to reduce stress.Diet, life style, and building self- esteem. What we eat, how we live, and how we feel about ourself effects how well we manage our health.Moving more. It’s important to understand that in most cases treating your pain means becoming more active

      I wish you the best.

  2. Hello! Thank for writing this incredibly informative article. I have experienced back pain for many years and I’m always looking for solutions. I’ve made note of the exercises you mentioned as being suitable for back pain/back health. I’m going to practice them today. I can see that I was doing some of the exercises that you do not recommend, and that is also very helpful to know!

    1. Hi Audrey,

      I am glad that you found the information helpful. Lots of people have wrong impressions, not entirely their fault, about what makes good stretch workouts for the back. As I mentioned, one of the most encouraged exercise for stretching the back is the toe touches. Yet, this is, as mentioned in the post, one of the worse things you can do if you sufferer from back pain because of the strain it puts on your spine.

      In any case, go ahead and try some of the exercises. Just do everything gradually. Let your body dictate how much you should do. Watch the videos when you are unsure of anything. I wish you the best.

  3. wow I find this very interesting. I didn’t know toe touching wasnt good for your back. or the double leg lift! I also got good info from the video crunches. I also like your spirit in taking care of your mother and doing all you can to help relieve her chronic pains as best you can.Nice website

    1. Hi Ben,

      I’m glad you found the information useful. Yes, indeed, many people don’t know that such exercises as toe touches are bad for your back. Also, thanks for the kind words. My mother is my inspiration for creating this website.

  4. Hi Thabo,
    I love your article! Thank you!
    It will help me a lot. I suffer from lower back problems from 20 years as a hip hop / street dancer, and also have whiplash from a car accident. For me it’s crucial to perform the right stretches and exercises.Otherwise I get terrible pain.

    One of my favorite exercises is the bridge, but I will definitely try the Bird Dog. I have never tried that one and I really need to strengthen my core.

    Thanks again for very valuable tips!
    Best wishes to you,

    1. Hi Stina,

      Thanks for your feedback and kind words. It’s knowing that I’m helping people such as yourself that motivates me. Let me know what happens with the Bird Dog. If that doesn’t work out for you I might suggest that you try The Plank. Planks work for back pain because they strengthen your core and in the process reduce back pain. You’ll need to have the correct form to get good results from The Plank. If you’re curious you can do the research and study various “how to do plank” videos on youtube. For now, though, try the Bird Dog and see what happens. I wish you well also, Stina. Buy the way, nice shot of you and your dog. Love it.

  5. I’m yet another person who has suffered from lower back pain for years. Herniated discs, mainly due to sports injuries, but genetically I have a bad back too. So I’m very familiar with physio style exercises you listed, although actually DOING them regularly is much harder than it seems due to a busy life with my kiddos.
    I think your comments about stretching and slow, easy movements is key to understanding what will work WITH you when you’re wanting to strengthen your back. Any exercise with impact (running the stairs, weights on your shoulders that pushes down your spine)… all can cause problems.
    Reading your article has inspired me to get back into it! Thanks!

    1. Hi Marlaine,

      I think you’re right to point out that one needs to pay attention to their body and do what will work best for them. I’m so glad that my article has inspired you. That mean a lot to me. Have a great day.

  6. Hello here. Thanks for the interesting article regarding the back pain or other troubles associated with the back.
    When our back is bothering us, we can not perform simple tasks easily. If we do not take care of it, we can have not so pleasant consequences.
    Our back is not to keep our heads on but it is the main part of the body frame. The spine contains main nerves for organs, legs, and arms.
    As I know that simple yoga postures can make a big impact. Stretching back lightly or doing cobra position can make differences.
    I like the exercise: bridge. It helps not just for the back but for belly too. The whole body strengthens from this position.
    I see that you have more of great advice for people who seek for ways how to remove back pain. It is a great resource.
    All the best, Nemira.

    1. Hi Nemira,

      Thanks so much for pointing out the important role the back plays in helping us function. Also thanks for your feedback on the bridge. It’s a favorite among my readers, and your comments will add to their understanding Take care.

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